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Looking for Lorraine
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Looking for Lorraine

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinch
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Beacon Press
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Vicky "phenkos"
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although I haven't quite finished Looking for Lorraine (I'm at the 80% mark), I've decided to set out a few thoughts today to coincide with the publication of the book.

I first became aware of the name "Lorraine Hansberry" while watching Raoul Peck's powerful documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which explores racism in the US through the writings and reminiscences of James Baldwin. Referencing a meeting in 1963 with then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to discuss the state of interracial relatio
Kasa Cotugno
Born into the intellectual and activist middle class, Lorraine Hansberry's soaring intellect and inner strength allowed her to produce the work she's best known for, A Raisin in the Sun. That work arose out of family history in Chicago. She was years ahead of her time, but her background and support from her family and friends has had lasting impact. As noted elsewhere, this is a very well researched account of her life, also containing her lesser known works and details of her life that led to ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this as a digital galley from NetGalley.

I am hard pressed to dislike a literary biography but this one was exceptionally good.

I liked how Ms. Perry divulged gaps in the historical record and took care to not infer too much. Additionally, the structure of the book made it interesting to read. Instead of going strictly chronologically, Ms. Perry arranged the chapters by topic.

Also it made me want to reread A Raisin In The Sun which is always a good thing.

Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through the years I’ve heard about the activism and radicalism of Lorraine Hansberry, but never was there a book-length treatment of said activism. Well, thanks to Imani Perry’s careful, caring, love-filled and yes, a radiant piece of scholarship that void has now been brilliantly filled. Imani Perry refers to this work as, “less a biography than a genre yet to be named—maybe third person memoir—” and sets a course that will illuminate Lorraine’s life while avoiding the easy path of rumor and BS ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, biography
Finished: 15.10.2018
Genre: biography
Rating: A+
Published: 2018
One of the great playwrights of theater history
....who we rarely hear about: Lorraine Hansberry.
Her play A Raisin in the Sun is nr 10 on the list of
The 50 Best Plays of the Past 100 Years

Learn about Lorraine here....
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I was super excited to read this book because I love Lorraine Hansberry and particularly enjoy getting a chance to teach A Raisin in the Sun when I teach sophomores. I am not largely familiar with Hansberry’s other stories, and I think that is one of the areas where this book really shines. As I was reading, I found myself really appreciating the descriptions and events around each of the
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Chapter after chapter, I discovered more and more of Lorraine's radiance. Professor Perry has a way of writing that had me feeling as though I were sitting in the archives with her, pondering documents and acquainting myself with two powerful women. I am grateful for Professor Perry's effort of love and her keen insight in writing this volume.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh wow. I want to cry. This was such an amazing journey. I can’t believe I see so much of myself in a woman who lived so long ago. I loved reading every single part of this book. She never knew me, but I feel more connected to Lorraine.
Britt Aamodt
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imani Perry has written a beautiful and needed book on Lorraine Hansberry who, as the author of A Raisin in the Sun, wrote one of the greatest works of 20th-century American literature. So it's crazy that tomes haven't been written about Hansberry.

Perry tries to fill in some of the gaps and even includes new insight on Hansberry's lesbian affairs left out of early scholarship. In the preface, Perry warns that she has not written a traditional biography. It is a biography however one that is inte
Joshunda Sanders
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard not to gush about this biography because it's about one of my favorite creatives and writers by one of America's most prolific and insightful scholars. Hansberry was only alive for 30 years, but she fit a celebrated play -- A Raisin in The Sun --; a glorious friendship with her fellow queer and visionary friend James Baldwin; righteous dissent misconstrued as anger (which Perry rightfully highlights here as a dagger lobbed against Black people then [as it is now, I believe]) complex an ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, reviews
This biography/literary criticism of the life and works of Lorraine Hansberry is one of the most important books to come out in recent years. It is timely and relevant to our current political climate. Much more than just a chronological listing of names, dates, whens, and whats, the book explores Hansberry's works through the lens of her ideologies and political activism, which at the time were considered very radical. Imani Perry presents a commentary that is both insightful and stimulating. H ...more
Kathy Piselli
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
If I were famous I would wish for a biography like this one. It's scholarship couched in loving words. Hansberry's life was too short. One friend remembers her as "a girl who should have been born tomorrow instead of some yesterday". The yesterday of being the daughter of the kitchenette king, a man who would have been in great demand in today's times, a Black entrepreneur, marrying a love of money with a way to help African-Americans in need of affordable housing. There are great references to ...more
Jill Meyer
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Princeton University professor Imani Perry has written a relatively short biography, "Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry". The book is relatively short because the subject died at the age of 34 of cancer. In that short life, Hansberry became famous for her plays and other writing, as well as her beliefs of gender, political, and racial issues. Born on the South Side of Chicago in 1930 to Carl and Nannie Hansberry, black middle-class radicals who protested ho ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aahm
Imani Perry provides an intimate biography about the playwright, artist, and civil rights leader Lorraine Hansberry who died tragically at the age of thirty-four. She examines what molded this unapologetically proud woman to become the first African American to feature her play, Raisin in the Sun, on Broadway. The book gives an in-depth look into the spiritual bond “Trinity” created between Lorraine, James “Jimmy” Baldwin, and Nina Simone. Together they formed an intellectual and loving friendsh ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Her writing penetrated concentric layers of darkness to allow "...truth to see the light." p. 180.

When reading Looking for Lorraine you will be immersed in everything Lorraine Hansberry. From her literary work, large & small, public & private, to her family, mentors, contemporaries, colleagues, friends and foes. All of these are interwined with Lorriane's activism; for example, you wouldn't understand the complexity of her relationships or the true meaning of her art, without understandi
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I read the play "A Raisin in the Sun" when I was in high school, but the name Lorraine Hansberry never resonated with me - until now. This woman was a force of nature, confronting whatever she felt was wrong in the world, well before it was fashionable to do so. She should be a role model for young blacks in America who want to be involved in American society in a productive and meaningful way.
Justlesa Hall
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading A Raisin in the Sun as a child, I have long wondered about the woman behind the play. This book is an excellent portrayal of the most intimate moments of Hansberry life. Such a fascinating woman who the world had for just a short time.
Mary Nee
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good literary biography !
Chanda Prescod-weinstein
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best biographies I have ever read.
Alan LaPayover
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, Imani Perry, for your most beautiful gift.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
An insightful, loving, and graceful musing on the life and work of this important radical playwright. One of the best books I've read this year.
Annie Garvey
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a good start. I want to know more.
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Nov 10, 2018
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Imani Perry, a professor of African American studies at Princeton, first appeared in print at age 3 in the Birmingham (Alabama) News in a photo of her and her parents at a protest against police brutality. She has published widely on topics ranging from racial inequality to hip-hop and is active across various media. She earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a ...more