characters Blanche Cleans Up 109

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Blanche Cleans UpBlanche White is a very black middle aged woman who cleans white people's houses for a living Tart tongued and shrewd with a keen nose for trouble she's also a ueen sized snoop who sees at a glance what people are really up to especially if it's criminal It's been three years since she had to grab the kids and scurry out. The other day I was thinking about what a mystery story would be like if the main character wasn't an investigator or an ex cop or a rich person with a penchant for trouble What would a story be like I wondered if someone found themselves in it so to speak And then along comes Blanche Cleans Up to answer my uestionBlanche White has been working as a household domestic and has recently moved with her sister's two children up to Boston from South Carolina As a favor to a cousin she agrees to temporarily replace Miz Inez as the housekeeper cook for the wealthy Brindles so Miz Inez can vacation with Cousin CharlotteAlthough there are two Blanche books before this one here is where Neely really hits her mystery stride It's complicated than prior mysteries although parts are perhaps a little passé coming from the perspective of 1998 Maybe not But still it is good It reads uickly and is moderately suspensefulBlanche always called her employers ma'am and sir to their faces It put just the right amount of distance between them and her and was good cover when she couldn't remember their namesWhat's really the most enjoyable here is Blanche Her reflections on the social dynamics at the house of her temporary employers her efforts to provide a safe environment for her kids her participation and support of black women and the larger Black community; as she goes about these things the reader experiences them with her and occasionally even learn with her There's uite a diversity of experiences and thoughts and if there's a social message that may seem a little heavily applied at times it doesn't last long or it is balanced out with humor or interesting charactersI recognize's Blanche's tendency to 'poke the bear' as we used to call it in one of her interactions with another worker at the Brindle's'I don't get it' Blanche said 'You Christians say god made everything and everybody which has gotta include lesbians But then you say lesbians are ungodly Seems to me that you your pastor or your God is very confused honey'Carrie looked at her as though Blanche had just grown horns 'I'm gonna put you in my prayers' She hurried away to the laundry room and closed the door firmly behind her Blanche could hear her shrieking some hymn about being delivered from the heathen It was so tuneless and off key Blanche suspect Carrie had made it up for her benefitI can't help but chuckle a little at her obstinacy But she keeps working at building a relationship as well as opening Carrie's mind to positive acuaintance ship if nothing else She ends up getting a resolution to the various puzzles she encounters not because she's determined necessarily to solve a mystery but because she wants to help a friend or to make things right A uick read with a lot of broad insight into what life might be like for an empowered woman of color RecommendedTrish's review has a lot of interesting insight as well as some information and links about Neely and a half stars rounding up

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characters Blanche Cleans Up 109 ô [PDF / Epub] ☆ Blanche Cleans Up By Barbara Neely – Blanche White is a very black middle aged woman who cleans white people's houses for a living Tart tongued and shrewd with a keen nose for trouble she's also a ueen sized snoop who sees at a glance wh Blanche White is a very black middle agedLister Brindle a Boston Brahmin politician and his do gooder wife Blanche is uickly enmeshed in a festering canker of a scandal that moves from the Brindles' house aka Prozac House to her own black community as she tries to figure out the truth behind the swimming pool death of a young black man who knew a little too much. This was exceptionally good The mystery was actually decent and a bit complicated than the previous 2 books which was nice Usually the mystery isn't that great it's the other aspects of the story that areThis books themes were crooked politicians period uncle tom politicians misuse of religion in politics effects of lead paint homosexuality in the black community as well as in US Prostitution a few of the ideas presented around this were dated and not ok Otherwise these books continue to be extremely feminist and intersectional

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Of Farleigh North Carolina Now they've all settled into Blanche Cleans eBook #8608 life in the Roxbury section of Boston and Blanche herself is feeling like she may finally be free to enjoy life at least a little But before Blanche can say Breakfast is ready she gets suckered into standing in as cook housekeeper to one Al. Barbara Neely only wrote four Blanche books but each one addresses issues central to life in America and highlights the effect of these issues on the lives of America’s black folk Blanche White name notwithstanding is a large woman with skin on the extreme edge of blackness and works as a domestic If you ever wanted to know what your maid or cook was thinking when they answered Yes Ma'm with eyes cut off to the side you're going to get your chance here This woman is going to surprise and delight you She has smarts and attitude to burn and she has got three teens to take care of so don't waste her time sit down and let her tell you how it plays Blanche struggles to navigate a dangerous world that doesn’t concern itself with her needs or those of her family She is an amateur sleuth which gives her plenty of latitude to indulge her curiosity about other people's lives She is wily but she is also strong and salty blunt and clear She is funny She is an indispensable guide to looking at and discussing critical matters of concern to all Americans with regard to issues of race and class in our racially diverse neighborhoods Neely chooses important social issues and has big black Blanche tell us all about sensitive issues she faces every day The Blanche novels are classified as mystery but the murders are not the most interesting thing about this series In this novel what pins us to the page is what Blanche thinks about as she goes about her day as a cook in the household of a wealthy Boston couple one of whom has put in his bid to be governor There is plenty of intrigue surrounding the death of two young black men who used to work at the house and then there is the death of a woman famous in her Roxbury neighborhood for knowing everything about everyone The mystery who done it is a vehicle for Blanche to air her concernsThose concerns include protecting her family from the corrosion of bad influences either from the sense of entitlement white andor wealthy people have as a birthright but also from the bottom feeders in her own mostly black neighborhood There is plenty of danger everywhere—from lead poisoning for instance—and Blanche has got her hands full keeping body and soul together and caring for three teens What struck me about the murders is that though two young black men and a black woman are killed the official investigations never came close to discovering the culprits Blanche did her own investigations but never considered bringing what she learned to the police Eventually the culprits were brought down by wrongdoing in another arenaBlanche has a refreshing intellectual honesty She feels jealousy rage hurt but she works it out on the page expressing feelings we've all had and working it around until she admits she may have gone too far or should be less possessive or that she can't control what other people think or decide to do She also expresses feelings of love lust and tenderness and can tell the difference between them “She’d stopped expecting life to be fair when she was about eight years old and had yet to be proven wrong Still that didn’t mean she couldn’t try to even things out a bit” The Blanche books were originally published by Penguin Books in the 1990s and are now being reissued in ebook format by Brash Books The third book in the series is just out in Kindle format with the fourth due in August this year Those who want to be reacuainted with the smart and salty tongue of Blanche in Boston need wait no longer but can start reading today Author Barbara Neely has a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pittsburgh and set up a community based housing program for female felons in an area of Pittsburgh called Shady Side She knows all about poor choices and failures of will She knows what despair looks like Somehow she keeps her sense of humor and shares it with us in the Blanche books Diana Reese writing for The Washington Post published a review of the Blanche books and portions of an interview with Barbara Neely in January 2015 And the US Embassy in Prague conducted a video interview of Barbara Neely on the occasion of the books being translated into Czech by high schoolers The covers of those translations are especially fabulous