Title: Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven
Publication Date: 1997
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Edition: First Edition; First Printing.
1.1 x 8.3 x 5.8 Inches; 304 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 84372
Synopsis: Eleven-year-old girl Tempestt and her family are given what is considered the chance of a lifetime: to move on up to Lakeland. It's a chance to leave behind the gritty neighborhood Tempestt has known throughout her entire life for one square mile of pristine beauty carved out of a Chicago ghetto and secured by a 10-foot-tall, ivy-covered, wrought iron fence.
Tempestt is quickly drawn to the streets beyond the fence, to a place of colorful, often dangerous, characters: 35th Street. Here the saved and the sinners are both so "done-up" you can't tell one from the other: Alfred Mayes, the oily preacher and connoisseur of "fine young thangs," whose line is as smooth as honey and whose looks are twice as sweet; and Miss Jonetta, a former lady of the evening who knows everyone's stories, and whose own history is as long and dark as 35th Street itself. Barely a month after moving to Lakeland, Tempestt will witness the death of friend, cause the arrest of a preacher, and start a chain of events that will send 35th Street up in flames.
Review: A secret lies at the heart of Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven, a coming-of-age story by first-time novelist Dawn Turner Trice. Set in Chicago in the mid-1970s, Ms. Trice's novel details several months in the life of Tempestt Rose Saville, an 11-year-old girl transplanted from her beloved southside neighborhood to Lakeland, an upscale oasis surrounded by urban wasteland. The price one pays to live in this "one square mile of ivory towers, emerald green grass, and pruned oaks and willows," is to join the black bourgeoisie, a class Ms. Turner describes as making "the Stepford Wives look like the rainbow coalition," and "about as individual as curds in white milk."
Tempestt may be young, but she's no fool; she hates the place from day one and soon escapes outside the fence that separates Lakeside from 35th Street, the unreclaimed ghetto outside her window. It is on 35th Street that she meets the novel's second narrator, Miss Jonetta Goode, a woman with a past. The street is also where the seminal event in young Tempestt's life occurs: the death of her school friend Valerie, a girl with one foot on 35th Street and the other in Lakeside. Ms. Turner's novel is well-written and from the heart, but many of its characters and situations seem familiar--the stock inventory of coming-of-age novels. Even the novel's secret fails to resonate--perhaps because the reader has guessed it long before Tempestt herself does.
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