Connie Porter's first novel, ALL BRIGHT COURT, was greeted nationwide by the highest critical acclaim. In her new novel, Porter returns to the ghettoized world of Buffalo, New York, with the wonderfully affecting story of Tasha, fourteen years old and the unwed mother of a baby girl. Tasha is a remarkable character, a child mothering a child - spunky, sassy, brimming with the hopefulness and frank wisdom of youth despite her circumstances. The name she gives her daughter, Imani, is a sign of her determination and fundamental trust: Imani means faith. "Mama say I'm grown now because I got Imani. She say Imani all mine. I know she all mine, and I like it just like that, not having to share my baby with no one." Narrated in Tasha's street-smart and lyrical voice, Imani All Mine tracks Tasha's progress as she navigates her journey to adulthood in an increasingly violent world.
"With authority and grace" (Essence), Imani All Mine tells the story of Tasha, a fourteen-year-old unwed mother of a baby girl. In her ghettoized world where poverty, racism, and danger are daily struggles, Tasha uses her savvy and humor to uncover the good hidden around her. The name she gives her daughter, Imani, is a sign of her determination and fundamental trust despite the odds against her: Imani means faith. Surrounding Tasha and Imani is a cast of memorable characters: Peanut, the boy Tasha likes, Eboni, her best friend, Miss Odetta, the neighborhood gossip, and Tasha's mother, Earlene, who's dating a new boyfriend.
Tasha's voice speaks directly to both the special pain of poverty and the universal, unconquerable spirit of youth. Authentic in every detail, this is an unforgettable story. As Seventeen declared, "Porter's candid narrative will have you hooked from the opening sentence."
"Unsparing, remarkably unsentimental" Kirkus Reviews
"'Mama say I’m grown now because I got Imani. She say Imani all mine.' So begins Porter’s latest novel, the story of 15-year-old Tasha, who is trying to grow up in a bleak housing project in Buffalo, New York, get good grades in school, and take care of her daughter without the participation or emotional support of her mother. Tasha won’t tell her mother that she had been raped, so she must endure her mother’s angry refusal to have anything to do with the infant. Furthermore, Tasha sees the boy who raped her every day in school, and his presence sickens her. She wishes him dead.
Imani’s name means "faith" in the Swahili language, and Tasha needs faith--in herself and in her friends, but mostly in herself--to survive. Despite her youth, she is a good mother, but when she briefly shakes her baby in anger and frustration, she is consumed with guilt. As the well-cared-for Imani approaches her first birthday, she becomes a joy that even her grandmother cannot resist. The tragedy at the end of the book takes that joy away, but it also begins the reconciliation between mother and daughter, as those around her acknowledge that Tasha cannot go it alone.
Written in dialect from Tasha’s first-person point of view, Porter’s novel flows lyrically. In spite of the hardships in her life, Tasha maintains a sense of humor and balance. Porter goes beyond the teenage mother stereotype to present a heroine full of courage and love for her child and ready to face the difficulties and responsibilities of her life." Multicultural Review
"Connie Porter's beautifully realized novel, IMANI ALL MINE, told in Tasha's voice, is the story of great promise shining through monstrous obstacles...The devastation of that promise is expertly depicted by Porter...[a] captivating novel." The New York Times
"Elegant, moving . . . a triumph of spirit." Pittsburg Post Gazette
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