The Coffee Will Make You Black On-line Book Club Chat Transcript
The Wake of the Wind
by J. California Cooper

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Publisher:  Doubleday & Company, Incorporated
Date Published:  September 1998

Date of Chat
Sunday, Jan 12th, 2003 6PM

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Thumper: Hi everybody!
 Melisha: hey
 Thumper: It's good to see you again. How is everything
 Melisha: prett cool
 Melisha: how about you
 Thumper: Im doing fair to middling. Have you read The Wake of The Wind?
 Melisha: whew its been a loooooooooooong time
 Melisha: well I started but it was kinda slow
 Melisha: did you?
 Thumper: I just finished it yesterday. I hated reading it because its the last J. California Cooper book that I have.
 Melisha: so what did you think?
 Melisha: perhaps you can convince me to continue
 Thumper: I like it a lot. I thought it was a little preachy in spaces. I see you're still not finishing books. *smile* *eyebrow raised*
 Melisha: ***guilty***
 Thumper: Where did you leave off?
 Melisha: please don't make me feel worse
 Melisha: i think chapter 6
 Thumper: Are they still slaves?
 Melisha: they are on freedom road
 Melisha: lol@ your smiley face
 Thumper: Cool, aint it? *big smile*
 Melisha: I'll go with this one
 Thumper: The book is pretty mellow. There's not a lot of action or anything that will capture your attention.
 Melisha: i know I was pretty bored
 Melisha: I was like I'm gonna finish this book so thumper won't get me
 Melisha: but every time i looked at it put me to sleep
 Melisha: so what is the story line thump?
 Thumper: In a nutshell, it's about Mor and Lifee and how they raise and make a family.
 Melisha: So why do u think cooper chose to write such a book?
 Thumper: The story also shows how hard it was to live in the reconstructed south, and how Mor and Lifee had to leave several homes because the white folks got jealous of their success.
 Melisha: kinda like rosewood
 Thumper: I think Cooper was trying to instill a sense of pride in young black readers. Educate them in slavery and show the strength of what black folks had to endure in the US.
 Melisha: well what do you think is the hook?
 Thumper: Cooper really wrote a good story. The only problem I had with it was the fact that she preached so much in the book and didn't trust her story enough to allow the story to carry the moral.
 Melisha: so its just basically a narration? Is cooper usually a storytelling author or does she write books that have adventure
 Thumper: The only hook I can think of is Cooper's writing style.
 Thumper: Cooper is usually a storytelling author, more along the line of Alice Walker with that poignant, graceful style.
 Thumper: There are some similar elements that appears in every Cooper novel, that I've read. Family and showing the Pudd'n Head Wilson thang she got going.
 Melisha: I mean I can't put it down it was interesting but I guess like you're saying the preachiness did bore me a little
 Thumper: You don't know about the Pudd'n Head Wilson thang since you haven't gotten that deep into the book yet.
 Melisha: I was also kinda bored with the slavery thang it seems kinda over used
 Melisha: and dang near cliche-ish
 Melisha: and dang near cliche-ish
 Thumper: Unfortunately, Cooper kept preaching the same thing over and over again throughout the book. It's a real shame too. I'm not usually bored with the slavery aspect of the novel.
 Melisha: I mean i understand she has to tell a story though
 Thumper: In all reality, we need more of them and less of the U Go Girl novels that don't seem to go away.
 Melisha: true
 Melisha: I'm not complaining
 Melisha: i guess i'm so used to those kinda novels
 Melisha: the u go girl type
 Thumper: I understand.
 Melisha: so stuff that is really good is boring to me
 Melisha: I just have to expand myself
 Linda: Hi everybody!
 Thumper: Hey Linda
 Melisha: either everyone else is watching football or they didn't like the movie either
 Melisha: i mean book
 Melisha: hi linda
 Melisha: unless they forgot
 Linda: Hey you guys. I thought I was late. where is everyone
 Melisha: so thump what made you change the day and time anyway?
 Melisha: don't know lin
 Thumper: Hey Linda, huh, well, you are kinda late.
 Melisha: what did you think of the book?
 Linda: I was eating and almost forgot
 Thumper: I had to change the date and time because I no longer worked evening shift.
 Melisha: oh ok
 Melisha: so will it be this time everytime or were u just testing it out?
 Thumper: It will be at this time, eveytime for a while. If people have a problem with it, we can change it around some.
 Thumper: It will be at this time, eveytime for a while. If people have a problem with it, we can change it around some.
 Thumper: Linda, what did you think of the book?
 Linda: Didn't get to read it yet
 Thumper: lol
 Melisha: thump and linda: I thought it was kinda cool how cooper made liffee and mor come together after the slave ship and being in different places in the u.s.
 Melisha: she seems to be emphasizing reunions like you were saying family is a theme
 Thumper: I liked that. I thought it would have been more interesting if she would have stuck with their ancestors. Cooper always uses the family as a theme.
 Melisha: explain "with their ancestors"
 Thumper: One of my favorite Cooper book is Family. Which also plays into that Pudd'n head Wilson thang.
 Yvette: Hi everybody!
 Yvette: Bye, bye!
 Linda: Hi Yvette
 Yvette: Hi everybody!
 Thumper: Melisha: The two Africans that starts the novel and she shows them being captured and sent on the slave ship
 Thumper: Melisha: The two Africans that starts the novel and she shows them being captured and sent on the slave ship
 Melisha: hi yvete
 Melisha: yeah she did rush that
 Yvette: Hi There
 Thumper: Hi Yvette, how are you doing today?
 Melisha: she could have talked more about africa perhaps and showed how the family was united there
 Thumper: Yvette, how did you like The Wake of The Wind
 Melisha: and how important family was there and showed the contrast
 Yvette: I'm doing good. I live in Alaska, so this getting home after church and trying to make the chat on time is going to be a challenge. But, I'm glad to be here.
 Yvette: I Loved Wake of the Wind
 Melisha: great
 Thumper: Glad you could make it. *smile*
 Yvette: Did everyone else like it?
 Thumper: Yvette, what did you think of Lifee and Mor?
 Melisha: I didn't complete it
 Thumper: I liked it, although I felt Cooper got a little preachy in spots.
 Linda: I haven't started it yet.
 Melisha: may i comment on that question thump
 Yvette: I thought they had a very special relationship. Lifee was a strong woman and Mor was a strong man. And the love that they had for each other was the glue that held the story together.
 Yvette: Hey Thump, in what way do you think she was preachy.
 Thumper: Sure, Melisha, knock yourself out.
 Yvette: This was my first J. California Cooper novel and I thought it was great.
 Thumper: Yvette: She got preachy in a couple of spots. The main one was when the family was going to the Carolina coast and Mor was talking to the children about slavery and white folks.
 Melisha: well from what i read I have to say I respected Lifee because she married (though unwillingly) Mor
 Melisha: I mean she could have easily left him after slavery
 Thumper: And Mor's speech went on for two or three pages.
 Yvette: Oh yeah, it did get a little preachy there.
 Yvette: That
 Yvette: Ooops, that's true Melisha.
 Melisha: and furthermore since she was used to finer things she could have found her some white beau to allow her to live like she was in Louisiana
 Yvette: Although, the likelihood of her getting somewhere and finding someone else was going to be slim.
 choc_Raisen: Hi everybody!
 Thumper: Melisha: Mor could have just as easily left her.
 Yvette: I don't think she would have been interested in a white man considering what she had gone through in slavery.
 Thumper: Hello choc_raisen, how are you doing?
 Linda: Hi Choc Raisen
 choc_Raisen: Hi everyone
 choc_Raisen: So what part in the book are you discussing?
 Melisha: true thump
 Thumper: Choc_raisen, how did you like The Wake of The Wind.
 Melisha: so what do you all think made them stay together love? similar backgrounds? fear of future alone? what?
 Thumper: We were just discussing Lifee being together with Mor.
 Yvette: Hi choc_Raisen
 choc_Raisen: I really liked it.
 Thumper: Melisha, I think they truly loved each other. It was a wonderful love story.
 Yvette: Melisha, I think it was a combination of all that you stated.
 Linda: Bye, bye!
 choc_Raisen: I think Lifee saw the good qualities in Mor and
 Melisha: Do you all think this book somehow reflects coopers life? bye linda
 Thumper: I believe Cooper depicit what most of our families had to go through in order to survive, and she always show strong family ties. I like that about her.
 Yvette: But, as Thumper stated, I think love was the main thing.
 choc_Raisen: and she thought she could teach him
 Thumper: Yvette, do you think you'll read another J. California Cooper book? Oh and what did you all think about the twins?
 Melisha: well although i didn't finish one thing i did like was how she made the blacks realistic (during slavery) instead of otherizing them like american history books do
 Melisha: history books will have you believe that blacks were just savages
 Thumper: choc_raisen: and Mor wanted to learn. He wasn't intimidated by Lifee's education and strength.
 Melisha: but she seems to bring to life that our ancestors did want family, did want morals, did want good things for ourselves
 Melisha: true thump which another man could have been abusive because his wife was more knowledgeable
 Yvette: Sorry guys. Yes Thumper, I will definitely read another J. California Cooper novel.
 choc_Raisen: Mor was very thankful for having a women like Lifee
 Yvette: The Twins: That was unbelievable.
 Melisha: Another thing I want to point out is the contrast that cooper makes between the slavemaster's family and lifee and mor did you all get that?
 Melisha: they had a parallel life
 Melisha: both were forced into marriage basically
 Melisha: and when slavery was up the white lady (can't remeber her name) just up and left and asked lifee to join her
 Melisha: but lifee stayed and tried to carve out a niche for herself
 Melisha: had even took some of the money to help her out
 Thumper: Melisha: Sure I got that. There was a sense of pride that ran through the whole novel. I like that part as well.
 Melisha: yvette what happened with the twins i don't think i read that far
 Yvette: One was black and one was white.
 Thumper: What did you all think of Mor not wanting to leave his land? Was he less of a man because he did, or more?
 Yvette: One was for the master and one was for Mor, biologically, that is. But is that possible.
 Melisha: do you all think that if lifee had not experienced travel and finer things that she would have been as loyal to Mor
 Melisha: she got pregnant by the master?
 Yvette: Thumper: I think he was more of a man. He had to protect his family from certain death.
 Thumper: Melisha: the white woman's name was Morella. What a name? *big smile*
 Yvette: Melisha: He raped her and on the same day she slept with Mor.
 Melisha: yeah those names were seemingly simbolic
 Thumper: Melisha, read the story dear.
 Melisha: lifee
 Melisha: ok thump
 Melisha: morella
 Yvette: Thump: What did you think about the twins?
 Thumper: Yvette, biologically, it is possible to become pregnant in such a way. Although its not common, it is possible.
 choc_Raisen: I think if it wasn't for Lifee they wouldn't have the life
 Melisha: wow that is strange
 choc_Raisen: style they were living
 Yvette: Wow.
 Melisha: good point choc
 Thumper: I knew Cooper was going to throw the one white, one black in the story somehow. The twin element is in all of Cooper's novels. I liked the twins. Although I was more interested in Mor and Lifee.
 Yvette: Interesting. In all of her novels?
 Melisha: well i have a question?
 Thumper: choc_raisen: I don't think Lifee could have done it without Mor, nor visa versa.
 Yvette: Are they always black and white?
 Melisha: for you all
 Melisha: what do you think were some excellent points of lifee and mor showing resistance?
 choc_Raisen: that's true Thumper, but Lifee always had a plan for the future
 choc_Raisen: she knew which way to go
 Thumper: Yvette: In her novel Family, there's a baby switch. Both babies have the same white father, but the mothers are the white wife and the black slave who is repeatedly raped by the white man.
 Thumper: In In Search of Satisfaction, the daughter who has a black father and a white mother is raised white and it shows the relationship between her and her black sister.
 Yvette: Melisha: I'm not sure I understand your question.
 Thumper: Cooper always has this type of white-black dynamic going. What I love about her is that none of these relationships are the same, each are different and unique.
 Yvette: I have definitely found a new favorite in Cooper. I simply loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of her stuff.
 Melisha: I mean what are some subtle yet powerful ways that lifee and mor show resistence to the system
 Melisha: system of slavery system of racism
 Thumper: The only resistance I can see, and it wasn't resistence per se, it was plan smart, was Lifee using the white folks to buy land, have a bank account when it was dangerous for blacks to have those things.
 Yvette: I liked how Lifee went about pretending they didn't have anything when she was using that white woman to cash in those gold pieces.
 Linda: Hi everybody!
 Yvette: Yeah Thumper, we were think alike there.
 Melisha: hi linda again
 Thumper: Yvette, I love Cooper. She is one of my favorite authors of all times. Be sure to read her many short story collections as well. It was her short stories that I first fell in love with her.
 choc_Raisen: Hi Linda
 Yvette: I definitely plan to. I can't wait.
 Thumper: And her sons were just as smart. Remember how they bought all that land and the stock holdings and what not.
 Melisha: so what you are saying kinda goes back to what I was saying earlier that cooper gives life to our ancestors by showing they are people and they are smart and have needs and wants fulfilled like any other human being
 Yvette: That'
 Thumper: choc_raisen: was this your first time reading Cooper?
 Yvette: Oops. That's right. Throughout history, it has been the white man who has tried to dehumanize us, not us.
 choc_Raisen: Yes, it was
 Melisha: though they try to say we are ignorant and lazy cooper shows how we wanted to learn we wanted family we wanted traditions just as any people and that slavery didn't wipe away the desire for family but rather strengthened our desire for it
 Melisha: as a matter of fact it seemed that the whites were more content with broken homes and immorality
 Thumper: Melsiha: Sure. She also showed that there were some trifling ones, remember Ann and David? Her stories always show, to me, that we should always be proud of our family and family roots.
 Yvette: Historically speaking, I believe that no other race of people have had the strong family ties that the black race has enjoyed.
 Yvette: That is post slavery. We weren't allowed to have our families during slavery.
 Melisha: i mean yvette even during slavery the slaves tried to create family
 Yvette: They sure did, even if it wasn't biological.
 Linda: Bye, bye!
 Yvette: Thumper: Does that icon mean you're just chilling?
 choc_Raisen: What happen to us know?
 choc_Raisen: why don't we have the need to try to help each other out
 Yvette: choc: You mean what's happened to our sense of family?
 choc_Raisen: where is the love the bond
 Thumper: Yvette: Right, post slavery. Although it would have been during slavery if the slaves had their choice. Cooper went out of her way to point this fact out and that it was the white slave owners who born illegitmate children and then sold their own children off, and in many cases had children with their own daughters.
 choc_Raisen: Yes,some of us just don't care about the value of family
 Melisha: good question i was thinking the same thing chock
 Thumper: Yvette: I'm chillin' *LOL*
 Yvette: I think that we have gotten so wrapped up in striving for other things and have not made family a priority.
 Melisha: is it an american thing choc or just a black thing
 choc_Raisen: Well, it may be both, but more of a black thing
 Thumper: choc-raisen: I don't think we all ever had that sense of family in the first place. It's a hard question that can lead to some pretty ugly answers.
 Yvette: True dat, Thump.
 choc_Raisen: It seems that there is more black on black crime and hate for one another
 Melisha: so thump you are saying it is unrealistic to believe that all black familes were family how coop represents
 Yvette: The oppressed can't fight the oppressor, so they fight the oppressed.
 Yvette: Or, at least, can't win a fight against the oppressor.
 Yvette: Who knows, it's probably much deeper than that.
 Thumper: Choc_Raisen: But its always been here. If there wasn't that hate for one another, there wouldn't have been slaves in the US. It seem to me that the people in Africa would have killed the white man first than to allow them to farm harvest his fellow countrymen.
 Yvette: I've always wondered about that myself, Thump.
 Melisha: true thump
 choc_Raisen: that's true
 Melisha: i believe it is more complex than just black vs. white I think we have had internal problems that go back to africa and into antiquity
 Thumper: Melisha: I'm saying that Cooper depicits families that are NOT normally depicit in history nor in today's society. She shows that there is more than just blood that makes a family.
 Marti: Hi everybody!
 choc_Raisen: Hi Marti
 Melisha: true cause sometimes family can be more vicious than strangers
 Melisha: hi marti
 Thumper: Melisha: Sure it's a lot more complex than that, but I believe my statement is just the scratch on the surface.
 Thumper: Hello Marti.
 Thumper: Well, everyone, I like to thank you all for attending our first on-line chat for the year 2003. It's been a long time and I missed it.
 Melisha: all in all i think that cooper has a good story that reminds us of times past. we need a constant reminder of where we came from because speaking especially for people my age(23) and younger we don't have a real sense of family, morals, or what the hell the slave experience was about or what martin luther king and malcolm tried to do. we need that constant reminder
 Yvette: I did too. I'm glad we're back at it again. It's been fun.
 choc_Raisen: By reading this book, it made me really think on how thankful I should be
 Thumper: I'm glad some of you enjoyed our first book of the year. *smile* The second book is the new one from Walter Mosley. Its a small essay book. I'm expanding my horizons. The book is titled What's Next.
 Yvette: It gave me a renewed sense of pride.
 Thumper: And...Don't hold me to it, but we are trying to get Walter Mosley to attend our next on-line chat. So, cross your fingers.
 Melisha: cool
 Yvette: Hey Thump. Mosley's new book is nonfiction, right?
 Thumper: Yvette: I'm glad it did. Its one of the reason I go back and re-read Cooper, to recharge my sense of pride in myself and my family.
 Yvette: Thump: You indicated that you wouldn't consider Wake of the Wind historical fiction. What would you classify it as?
 Thumper: Mosley's What's next is non-fiction.
 Melisha: so thump will u let us know when the next chat is or do u know now?
 Thumper: Fiction. It has that histoical sense about it because the story takes place in the past and Cooper is usually pretty accurate, but its fiction to me.
 Thumper: Melisha: the next chat should be on February 9, 2003
 Yvette: So in other words, the historical fiction genre must have accurate accounts of history.
 Melisha: ok great discussion guys
 Thumper: Thanks everyone. This was alright. We're a half hour over, but its cool.
 choc_Raisen: see everyone next month
 Yvette: Have a great evening everyone and a safe week ahead!
 Melisha: bye all
 Yvette: Bye Melisha.
 choc_Raisen: Bye, bye!
 Melisha: Bye, bye!
 Thumper: Yvette: not word for word. I guess its a matter of perception. In my mind historica fiction is like Jewell Parker Rhodes' The Douglass' Women or Magic City. Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, or even John Oliver Killens' And Then We heard Thunder.
 Thumper: bye everyone. I'm gone.