Jump at the sun


About the book:

Grace Jefferson is an educated and accomplished modern woman, a child of the Civil Rights dream. But after a series of rattling transitions, Grace finds herself in a new house in a new city and in a new career for which she feels dangerously unsuited – stay-at-home motherhood. Caught between the only two models of mothering she has known – a sharecropping grandmother who abandoned her children to save herself and a mother who sacrificed all to save her kid – Grace struggles to embrace her new role, hoping to find a middle ground. But she catches herself in small acts of abandonment – speeding up on neighborhood walks, closing doors with the children on one side and her on the other – that she fears may foretell a future she is powerless to prevent. Or perhaps it’s a future she secretly seeks.

Praise for Jump at the Sun

"...her daring novel has the fire-breathing sass of Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale and the soul-searching depth of Toni Morrison's Beloved...honest and surprising and provocative...refreshing on a hot summer day."

--USA Today

" Most readers will find Grace's desperation heartfelt and her journey absorbing, as told in vigorous, luxuriant prose. Her eventual visit to her grandmother, accompanied by her own mother, is a poignant, heartbreaking scene, and Grace's question still haunts us after the book is closed: "Isn't everything everybody ever does about their mother in some way?"

--The Washington Post

"With her distinctive style and unique perspective, McLarin gives her readers a thought-provoking story concerning the burdens of expectation each generation of women must bear."


Jump at the Sun was:

- Nominated for a 2007 Hurston/ Wright Legacy Award in fiction.

- Chosen by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as a 2007 Fiction Honor Book.

- Chosen by the Massachusetts Center for the Book as a 2007 Massachusetts Book Awards Honor Book.

From Chapter One:

My mother says: be careful what you do on New Year’s Day. Be careful because you’ll find yourself repeating those actions for the rest of the year. New Year’s Day is a template, a groove worn in twenty-four short hours and thereafter impossible to escape. If you wake to find yourself licking the bathroom tiles, look forward to a year of drunkenness. If you’re in the kitchen until dinnertime, whipping up a feast for the gathering hoards, prepare for twelve months of domestic servitude. If you are praying that’s good, and if you are in the hospital that’s unfortunate and if you’re traveling, you might as well go on and keep those bags packed. Or so my mother says.

My mother Mattie Jefferson is sixtyish, southern and Black, a child of old Jim Crow, and this was only one of a vat full of superstitions in which she was steeped as a girl.

I, on the other hand, am a modern woman, a rational, highly-educated Brown Baby, the fulfillment of so many, many dreams. I have tossed off the weight of superstition, I chose logic and rationality. I do not believe. I do not believe eating collards on New Year’s Day will fatten my wallet or that consuming black-eyed peas ensures good luck. I do not believe if the first person through my doorway that primary morning is a woman, misfortune will surely follow yapping on her heels. (Let’s pause a moment to acknowledge the misogynist riptide swirling under that particular belief. My mother used to keep us locked down on New Year’s morning until our neighbor Mr. Bones -- red-eyed and stinking from the night’s festivities -- could stagger down the street to our house and free us with the gift of his testosterone.)