(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Gorilla, My Love is a collection of stories about ordinary people who are part of the African American communities of large cities and small rural areas. The stories are told from the first-person female point of view and focus on the importance of family and the community. Bambara’s characters speak in the black dialect of the street, with all its vitality and humor. It is this accurate portrayal of speech patterns that makes Bambara’s characters come to life. Her characters are warm, lively, real-life people who show concern and love for their families and people in the neighborhood.

Bambara has written novels, such as The Salt Eaters (1980) and If Blessing Comes (1987), but she prefers the short story as an art form. In her essay “Salvation Is the Issue,” Bambara expresses this preference: “Of all the writing forms, I’ve always been partial to the short story. It suits my temperament. It makes a modest appeal for attention, allowing me to slip up alongside the reader on her/his blind side and grab’m.” In comparing short stories with novels, Bambara makes this observation: “Short stories are a piece of time. The novel is a way of life.”

Bambara is interested in the cultural, social, and political activities of the African American community. In her works, she seeks to portray the positive side of black family life and the strengths of the community. Her stories reveal the influence of black...

(The entire section is 447 words.)