Synopses & Reviews
Crita has come a long way from her small-town Ohio roots. A successful tax accountant living in Manhattan, she finally has the independent life that she dreamed of as a girl. However, with one fateful phone call, Crita's life is turned upside down. Suddenly back home, living under her parent's roof, Crita must confront two powerful men from her childhood--Link, her destructive brother with whom she shares a dark secret, and Tree, her first love.
Facing memories that she would rather forget, Crita struggles to reconcile a tumultuous past with a calmer, quieter present. Needing help along the way, she may even learn to lean on Tree, the only man who could ever give her "what she needs to get by." In this riveting debut novel, Sophfronia Scott speaks for anyone that knows just how hard it is to go back home again.
Sophfronia Scott's writing is assured and the emotions are palpable. She's a writer to watch."
--Benilde Little, author of Acting Out and Good Hair
"Sophfronia Scott has written a wonderfully warm and wise portrait of family relationships, responsibilities, and going home again that mark her as a writer of depth as well as talent."
--Gail Buckley, author of The Hornes: an American Family and American Patriots: the Black Military Experience from the Revolution to Desert Storm.
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading All I Need to Get By. It's a terrific book--beautifully written, really well-drawn characters, emotionally resonant. It's also filled with great integrity--not a false note in there. I'm really proud of you, as I'm sure all your family and friends are, and hope this is the first of many novels to come.
--Susan Toepfer, former executive editor at People
"Sophfronia Scott's words bubble over with love, anger, weakness, strength and the grace note of patience. Each chapter is a road map; each character is a tree, a landmark on a road that winds towards home, in all its shuttered complexity."
--Veronica Chambers, author of Mama's Girl and Having It All?
"Lorain, Ohio, is familiar territory to readers of Toni Morrison, but Sophfronia Scott makes it her own. All I Need to Get By is a stunning debut, a story of family and memory, and the stories we tell about both in order to "get by." The novel is equal parts profundity, humor, and grace, and its author promises to take a place among the best writers of her generation."
--Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Harvard University
"Sophfronia Scott's debut novel is wonderful. What is more heartwarming--and heartwrenching--than the story of a family torn apart, then woven together? Bravo!"
Commercial African-American novel by People magazine editor about coming home and recovering lost loves--familial and romantic.
About the Author
proudly hails from Toni Morrison's hometown of Lorain, Ohio. She is the third of seven children born to her steelworker father and stay-at-home mother. After graduating from Harvard in 1988, Sophfronia went to work for Time
magazine where, in early 1990, she and a colleague conceived Time's
"Twentysomething" cover story and became the magazine's youngest cover story writers. Sophfronia is the former StyleWatch editor at People
magazine and the former Senior Entertainment editor at TeenPeople
. Sophfronia resides with her husband in Manhattan. All I Need to Get By
is her first novel.
Reading Group Guide
1. Do you agree with Mamas assertion that the world is made up of caretakers and those who are cared for? If not, why? Is it true for her family? Why or why not?
2. Why are the stories of their grandmother and Daddys childhood so important to the Carter siblings? Do you have similar family stories that you consider important or inspiring? What are they?
3. What makes it so hard for Crita to go home again? Is it one issue (Linc) or many?
4. The theme of family and what is expected of a family member shows up repeatedly in the book. Crita and Tree argue over it as well. How far does one go to help family? Who in the book went too far? Who didnt go far enough?
5. In many ways Daddy seems both powerful and powerless when it comes to his childrens lives. Is he an effective father? Why or why not?
6. How is Critas story different from those usually written about African-American families? How is it similar?
7. How does Crita have to change so that she can find her way back to Tree?
8. What aspects, if any, in Crita and Lincs relationship do you see in your own with your siblings?
9. Linc grew up with a love and support that some young black men dont have. Why wasnt it enough for him? Do you blame him for his fall?
10. What role do dreams play in the book?
11. How does the family change as Daddy deteriorates?
12. If you were Crita, what would you have done differently when you learned of Lincs drug use?