This book is so many things--an entertaining read, a conversation on race, gender, and class, a look at today's working moms, etc. What stands out for me most is what this novel explores regarding what some may view as the modern mammy and crossing boundaries. It's just ripe with debate. A refreshing component is characterization. The people inhabiting Substitute Me are often not depicted in literature that features Black main characters. Zora and her fellow nanny friend are both cultured, worldly women who are merely on a pit stop in life as caretakers. Tharps does a great job of contrasting eccentric and confident painter, Angel and Zora who's afraid to admit she just might like being a nanny because her family wouldn't approve. Kate is the typical career woman coping with fitting in her other roles of wife and mother. Her and Brad's banter on race and class are classic. While the supporting hold their own, this novel is ultimately Zora and Kate's stories.
Lori Tharps' writing shines here in Zora's observation of Fort Greene and Park Slope neighborhoods of Brooklyn:
What's important is that this is a great quirky brown read navigating the lives of Black folks who are well travelled, aspirational, and some even bilingual. Do get book, get friends and family to as well, then engage in some awesome discussions.
I received this book from the publisher.