One Author's Life


"Having Our Say": Part of the Fabric of American Culture

February 11, 2013

In my novel, "Miss Dreamsville," the main characters belong to a book club in a small town in Florida circa 1962. Among their book selections are "Silent Spring," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Their Eyes Were Watching God," and "The Feminine Mystique." Of course, in truth, I'm the one who got to pick the books they read, and it was great fun to pay tribute to these important books from another era. I have had a similar experience with my first book, "Having Our Say," the nonfiction New York Times bestseller turned Broadway play. Over the years I have encountered mentions of "Having Our Say" in other books, usually by scholars. (If it's more than a snippet, they have to ask my permission first.) Among the general audience books where I've seen "Having Our Say" mentioned is "Helluva Town: The Story of New York City During World War II" by Richard Goldstein, and "Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class" by Lawrence Otis Graham. But the biggest surprise was stumbling across two mentions of "Having Our Say" in a novel - "Sabbath's Theater," the National Book Award winner by the legendary Philip Roth. This, more than anything else, made me realize that "Having Our Say" is part of the fabric of American culture.