(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The setting of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush could be any contemporary city because most of the action takes place within the apartment...

(The entire section is 201 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush is a skillful blend of realism and fantasy. A one-parent family, mental retardation, child abuse,...

(The entire section is 680 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Hamilton handles skillfully issues not usually associated with young adult literature: sex, mental retardation, child abuse, and a fatal...

(The entire section is 569 words.)


(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Farrell, Kirby. “Virginia Hamilton’s Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and the Case for a Radical Existential Criticism.” Contemporary Literature 31, no. 2 (Summer, 1990): 161-176. Argues that the novel’s “apparent celebration of black solidarity overlays a regressive vision of relentless sadistic competition.”

Guy, David. “Escaping from a World of Troubles.” The Washington Post Book World, November 7, 1982, 14. Guy comments that Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush “could vaguely bore me and utterly astound me within the space of a single chapter” and wishes that Hamilton would “release her remarkable imagination from the contrived situations of the conventional young adult novel.”

Heins, Ethel L. Review of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, by Virginia Hamilton. The Horn Book Magazine 18, no. 5 (October, 1982): 505-506. Praises the novel’s characters as “complex, contradictory, and ambivalent as is life itself: sometimes weak, sometimes attractive, always fiercely human.”

Paterson, Katherine. “Family Visions.” The New York Times Book Review, November 14, 1982, 41, 56. A highly laudatory review of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush. Paterson challenges readers to read the first paragraph of the book and “then stop—if you can.”

Townsend, John Rowe. “Virginia Hamilton.” In A Sounding of Storytellers: New and Revised Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1979. A thorough overview of Hamilton’s early fiction.

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Evaluate Vy as a mother. Consider her abuse of Dab as a child and the burden she places on Tree as a young girl. What are her redeeming...

(The entire section is 137 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Read a classic for children that could be classified as a fantasy. Compare and contrast the literary elements with those found in Sweet...

(The entire section is 150 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The influence of past heritage and family unity are constant themes in Hamilton's work. M. C. Higgins, the Great is the story of a...

(The entire section is 189 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

"Biography, Virginia Hamilton." United States Board on Books for Young People, Inc., Newsletter 17.1.5 (1992): 5-6. The article...

(The entire section is 345 words.)