Debut Novel Crowning Glory: River's Journey

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Debut Novel Crowning Glory: River's Journey

Following in the footsteps of notable writers like Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye" and work by Alice Walker, debut author Taylor Thompson's new novel continues to explore the devastating effects of internalized racism and sexual violence on modern African-American women.

In Taylor Thompson's debut novel, Crowning Glory: River's Journey readers are introduced to River Thomas, a young black girl struggling with self-acceptance, in particular, her insecure relationship with her hair. This internalized whiteness she experiences is drawn out throughout her adult life and in various relationships: her failing marriage, discrimination at work and through unbalanced friendships.

In 1956, on a hot August afternoon in Hopewell, Texas, River Thomas begins her journey toward self-rejection. When the melting pomade burns her eight-year-old scalp as her mother straightens her hair with a pressing-comb she heats on the kitchen stove, River swallows down the pain. She reasons that her hair will be nice and straight as hair should be and she smiles each Sunday when she looks up at the white Jesus, with straight hair, painted above the Baptismal bay. This self-rejection is reinforced when, as a teenager, she accepts her straight hair isn't enough to win her Elvis' love. Angrily, she stops having her hair pressed and begins to wear an afro.

Twenty years later, River's doomed marriage to her bland, older husband who can't match her intellect and passion for life, is in jeopardy. As River climbs the cooperate ladder where after her promotion to Senior Accountant, she makes the decision to straighten her years-old afro, hoping to feel less out of place as the only black person in the office. Her relationship with Daryl, the Office Manager, grows strained when she refuses his advances. When Daryl hires Alpha, blond and beautiful, as River's assistant, their past and future relationships prove destructive for them both, but more so for River.

With dramatic urgency, a powerful sense of self-worth, and a beautifully rendered cast of characters revealing a deep understanding of human nature in all its flawed glory, Crowning Glory is an unforgettable novel about overcoming internalized self-contempt, effects of racism and abuse, and adversity.

"My goal in writing this novel is for those to consider how much of a woman's sense of self is influenced by her perceived desirability, sexual or otherwise, and propose the question - is today's social environment negatively impacting that perception?" reveals Thompson.

TAYLOR THOMPSON grew up in the Houston area, and returned back home after a 16-year job assignment in Chicago. The author's imagination, personal as well as professional experiences as the only black amongst her peers, as well as black women's concern with their hair served as the catalyst for this novel. She has also written and published a children's book, Her Hair's Not Right!, before writing Crowning Glory: River's Journey. She currently resides in Houston with her two dogs.

Crowning Glory: River's Journey is available now on Amazon.



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