cover image Rebecca, Not Becky

Rebecca, Not Becky

Christine Platt and Catherine Wigginton Greene. Amistad, $30 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-321359-3; $18.99 trade paper ISBN 978-0-06-321358-6

Children’s author Platt (the Frankie & Friends series) teams up with filmmaker Greene for an incisive story of two stay-at-home moms, one Black, one white, whose complex friendship roils their northern Virginia suburb. De’Andrea Whitman, a former lawyer, misses her old friends in Atlanta after moving to Rolling Hills, and has little interest in befriending the white mothers at her daughter’s school. One of them, Rebecca Myland, means well (“Rebecca was NOT a Becky,” the authors write with a mix of irony and sympathy, referencing the meme about angry racist white women), but she routinely and obliviously offends the few parents of color. De’Andrea’s therapist picks up on De’Andrea’s hostility toward white women and encourages her to befriend one. She begrudgingly agrees and accepts a Diversity Book Club invitation from Rebecca, though she ends up bonding instead with two Asian American women. Eventually, De’Andrea and Rebecca find common cause in an effort to remove a Confederate monument from a local park, and as their crusade reaches a boiling point, members of each of their families are affected in surprising ways. The authors carefully demonstrate how each of the protagonists is hampered by preconceived notions of the other, and the social satire smoothly evolves into a propulsive page-turner. Fans of Such a Fun Age ought to check this out. (Dec.)

This review has been updated with further information.