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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Telling Our Stories: Great Novelists from the ’90s


We’re smack dab in the middle of summer, but there isn’t anything more refreshing than cozying up with a great book. In the ’90s there were a ton of amazing books that were released by some groundbreaking authors. While some novels were purely for entertainment purposes, others created movements and gave insight into our daily lives. We’ve got to give these authors their flowers while they’re still here. I’ve decided to compile a list of a few of my favorite authors from the ’90s and highlight some of their most notable works of art.

Omar Tyree

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The first up is a fiction author who hails from Philly. Tyree is a five-time New York Times best-selling author and winner of the 2001 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work Fiction. One of the most infamous novels and my personal favorite by Tyree is Flyy Girl. Published in 1993, Flyy Girl is the coming of age story of Tracy Ellison gives a detailed account of her life from age six to sixteen. This novel is full of twists and turns as Tracy navigates the transition from childhood to adolescence using boys and material possessions as her motivation. I love this novel because it shows how strong-willed this Tracy is and how she doesn’t stop to get what she wants. It’s very relatable from the character development to the dialogued used in the novel. I have always appreciated books that have a great lesson to be learned.

Terry McMillan

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I could not have this list and not mention the greatness that is Terry McMillan. Her books have shaped the culture and rightfully so. Also, a New York Times best selling author, her novels explored the complex lives of women, relationships, and life experiences. Her work includes Mama, Disappearing Acts, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and of course How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the most prominent Waiting to Exhale. Two of her novels were adapted into box office films, while others were adapted into television movies. Her bibliography goes on and on but her most successful novel to date is Waiting to Exhale. This book sold 3 million copies and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for months in 1995. We know the story of Bernadine, Savannah, Gloria, and Robin oh too well, as they navigate relationship woes and life in general. The 1995 film adaptation of the same name brought the characters to the big screen with an amazing cast that consists of Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon. While the movie was awesome and the soundtrack a creative masterpiece, there are just some details in the book the film didn’t have. Check it out for yourself, you’ll see exactly what I am referring to.

Eric Jerome Dickey

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  I absolutely love Eric Jerome Dickey’s books. It was one of my first introductions to Black literature that I didn’t learn about in school. Dickey’s novels have been placed on the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller list, and he’s also won numerous awards for his writing to include Best Contemporary Fiction and Author of the Year (Male) at the 2006 African American Literary Award Show and Blackboard’s Book of the Year for his novel Cheaters. His novels captivated me from the very beginning due to their descriptive nature and intense storylines. Published in 1999, Cheaters was the first book I read by Dickey. I was completely intrigued by the main characters. Stephan, a player juggling multiple women, and Chante’ a free-spirited woman who gives Stephan a run for his money. This book is full of laughs, twists, and tons of drama. This is one of Dickey’s most successful novels and was adapted into a stage play by JeCaryous Johnson. If you’re up for a book that will keep you entertained from the beginning to the end, this is a good read for you.

These are just a few of my favorite novels from the ’90s. Trust me, I know I missing some great titles but you’ll just have to stick around for part two. Let me know what are some of your favorite novels to read, which ones stand out, and if any of these made you look at things differently.

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