About the Book
Florence is ninety-one. She is dying. Atlantic City is dying too. But both were once vibrantly alive.
This is a love story – between friends who met in a yoga class. “When our l’affair du coeur started Florence was eighty-seven. I was fifty-one. She lived in the city. I lived in the suburbs. She’s a black Hebrew, I’m a WASP. We are completely alike . . . During that first car ride when we started talking about everything–we had hardly scratched the surface of politics, nature, travel, race, spirituality, Atlantic City history, love, sex–we became immediate best friends.”
This is a love story–between a mother and her children. Florence raised her son, the one she had tried to abort, to be “the best example of black fatherhood” all by herself, a single mother scraping to get by. That would-be Uncle Phil, Judge Philip Banks, from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She would open her heart to more children later, ones their own mother did not want. Florence wasn’t about to repeat her own history.
This is definitely a love story between men and women, as lovers and husbands, well maybe not so much that since they didn’t always work out. Florence knew what she wanted and had the pluck to go find it, for a minute even finding true love. Ann did a little exploring too.
This is a love story carried on the wings of songs, and what amazing songs they are. Atlantic City’s Kentucky Avenue was the music mecca of the 1950s, rivaling Harlem and New Orleans. All the black entertainers – Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Louis Armstrong, everyone mentioned in this book– not only played in Atlantic City, many drank champagne on Celebrity Row at Chicken Bone Beach and some even stayed at Florence’s house.