Martin's Must Reads: 'The House of Eve'
“My Grandma Nene always said that early was on time, on time was late, and late was unacceptable. Fatty was unacceptably late again. Knowing full well that I had some place important to be. I didn’t mind staying with Grandma Nene overnight once a week so that Fatty could clean offices. All I asked was that she be home in time for me to catch the bus to my Saturday enrichment classes.”
Those are the opening lines to Sadeqa Johnson’s novel The House of Eve. The story begins in 1948 and revolves around two Black young women. Ruby is a teenager in Philadelphia who has been chosen to participate in a special academic program that could lead to a full college scholarship. When her mother kicks her out of her apartment, again, Ruby moves in with her aunt. She would be the first one in her family to go to college. And Eleanor, a college student in Washington, D.C. who helps out in the archive department of the school’s library. Both fall in love. Ruby with Shimmy, a young white Jewish boy and Eleanor with William, a medical student from an elite lighter skinned social circle.Both of them struggle to fulfill their dreams of carving out a better life at a time when the country still suffered from segregation laws.
This book is an honest view into the struggles of young Black women in the 1950s. As the book jacket says, “With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.”
If you’re interested in an honest story of what young black women faced growing up in the 1950s, then you must read The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson.