Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Bebe Moore Campbell was noted for going beyond traditional tales of oppression and hardship to tell stories that are universal, crossing lines of color and ethnicity. Her works convey life messages for people everywhere. These messages are subtly woven into the text in a way that allows readers to draw their own conclusions.

Campbell was one of the first African American writers to attract a large following among white readers. She met with great critical acclaim for her clear writing, meaningful story lines, and believable characters. Her works convey her warmth, humanity, and understanding of people. She did not judge her characters, instead lamenting choices that may have affected them adversely and asking them to forgive themselves and try to live up to their potential. Her death from brain cancer in 2006 brought a swell of regret, with much discussion of the principles she lived by and hope that her life and work would bring about a greater awareness of the importance of remembering origins and supporting older communities.