Al Young title

Al Young’s SITTING PRETTY: A buried classic novel

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“A novel you’ll want to go on forever about a charmer who can outfox Redd Foxx — at making life and making love ‘a pleasure.'”
— The New York Times

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SITTING PRETTY cvr Signet 1977

The Signet mass paperback (1977)
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Full-page announcement, Variety, 1976, from First Artists/Universal Pictures


Editorial Reviews

Review

As Sit tells it, his life in and around San Francisco is based on a simple philosophy: “Play all the possibilities and stagger your bets.” Al Young deserves high marks for his novel that makes one think twice about success and failure in life. — Paul Obluda, The San Francisco ExaminerSitting Pretty is long-time poet and novelist Al Young’s novel from the mid-70s that has been reissued in 1986. Spoken, for it seems more grounded in the oral than the written tradition, by SidneyJ. Prettymon, a. k. a. Sitting Pretty, this novel set in the San Francisco Bay Area is rich in local color, authentic, and thoroughly enjoyable. The surface of the book is bright and clear, written as it is in the black idiom, with underpinnings rich in emotional tones. Sitting Pretty covers one year in the life of the narrator. The book opens with Sitting Pretty living in the Blue Jay Hotel in Palo Alto, a place that caters to those down on their luck, such as Miz Duchess, a tough but lovable Cherokee woman who dines on Alpo; Willie G., who goes from working in the junk yard to fashionable security guard at a modem art museum back to the junk yard; Broadway, a flashy young man who ends up busted for cocaine; and the silent and intuitive Professor. The exploits of these secondary characters pate, however, in comparison to those of the narrator, who fights the battle of the bottle, not always winning, but always fighting with humor; who goes to jail for unpaid parking tickets and gets bailed out by his lawyer son; who establishes contact with his wife after years of neglect only to discover that she has developed cancer; who is offered a job pitching T.V. and radio shows and becomes famous in the process; who has a tryst with the enigmatic Marguerite of exclusive Atherton, a black woman who passes for white; and who ends up hanging out at Jo Jo’s Let’s Get It On Club where he begins to cultivate an interest inJoJo, the proprietor as well as expose himself to some young, hip, radical black poetry. The action keeps the book going along at a fast clip, but the value of Sitting Pretty is in the narrator’s “philosophizin.” His insights are grounded in the experience of black America, yet they are universal enough to make this a novel of wide appeal. — From Independent Publisher –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Al Young is the award-winning author of several screenplays and more than 22 books of poetry, non-fiction and fiction including the novel and the musical memoirs, Seduction by Light, and Drowning in the Sea of Love. He travels extensively, lecturing and reading from his work, which has been widely translated. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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