Episode 31: Josephine by Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins (Camille DeBose)

“Josephine ‘Jojo’ Best has it all figured out. Just seventeen, she’s been to college, she has her own hairdressing shop and nothing will distract her from her goals. That is, until handsome George Brooks begins to pursue her. Then the return of her childhood nemesis complicates her life even further!

No girl is immune to Adam Morgan’s charm. But when a wound brings him home from the War Between the States, it’s a girl he used to call “Pest” who’s turning the tables. All grown up, Jojo is being courted by another soldier, and Adam knows it would be foolish to play with her heart; but he just can’t get the ugly duckling turned swan off his mind.

Jojo, too, can’t deny her growing feelings for Adam. But he’s always been such a flirt—how can she take him seriously? He can’t possibly be serious about her. Besides, she has George falling all over himself to please her. As the war rages on, Adam’s feelings for Jojo grow stronger, but Jojo’s determination to resist him does, too. One thing is clear, though: Jojo is a girl who always gets what she wants, even when she doesn’t know what it is!” Description from Beverly Jenkins’ web site

For this, our first foray into the romance novel genre, we went in craving a bodice ripper, but ended up with teenage dress mending — only a little less hot. However, we must admit that the results of our reading of the great Beverly Jenkins’ YA novel, Josephine, were more than satisfying! In this episode we discuss antebellum Michigan and the small town of Whittaker, where all the men have left to fight in the Civil War and the women have been left to fend for themselves. When a group of injured soldiers arrives to convalesce at the town’s boarding house, I think we all know what comes next: intense courting! Respectable socializing! Thoughts of kissing! Heteronormativity! And choices, choices . . . As you might expect, this turns out to be a delightfully raucous episode with lots of puns, nervous laughter, and an overdose of food metaphorsCheck it out!

Mentioned in the Episode

What the Spoiler are up to!

  • Code Switch Episode, Black Kiss Story 
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Judith Fetterley, The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Literature (Adriana calls it Resisting Romance)
  • Beverly Jenkins, Indigo
  • Eliza Potter, A Hairdresser’s Experience in High Life
  • Barbara Neely, Blanche on the Lam
  • Donald Goines
  • Todd — Adrienne Maree Brown, We Will Not Cancel Us
  • Adriana — Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
  • Crystal — Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Undrowned
  • Anita — Queen Sugar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *