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Extended Audio Sample Getting Mothers Body: A Novel Audiobook, by Suzan-Lori Parks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (715 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Suzan-Lori Parks Narrator: Suzan-Lori Parks Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2003 ISBN: 9780739302989
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Billy Beede, the teenage daughter of the fast-running, no-account, and six-years-dead Willa Mae, comes home one day to find a fateful letter waiting for her: Willa Mae’s burial spot in LaJunta, Arizona, is about to be plowed up to make way for a supermarket.

As Willa Mae’s only daughter, Billy is heiress to her mother’s substantial but unconfirmed fortune—a cache of jewels that Willa Mae’s lover, Dill Smiles, is said to have buried with her. Dirt poor, living in a trailer with her Aunt June and Uncle Roosevelt behind a gas station in a tumbleweedy Texas town, and pregnant with an illegitimate child, Billy knows that treasure could mean salvation. So she steals Dill’s pickup truck and, with her aunt and uncle in tow, heads for Arizona with Dill in hot pursuit. While everyone agrees it’s only polite to speak of getting mother’s body and moving her to a proper resting place, it’s well understood that digging up Willa Mae’s diamonds and pearls will make the whole trip a lot more worthwhile.

The enormously accomplished fiction debut from Suzan-Lori Parks, the 2002 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Getting Mother’s Body takes its place in the company of the classic works of Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker. But when it comes to an ingenious, uproarious knack for depicting the trifling, hard-luck, down-and-out souls who need a little singing and laughing and lying and praying to get through the day, Suzan-Lori Parks shares the stage with no one.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 2/12/2014

    " Your mother is buried with what you think are valuable jewels, and suddenly you're in need of some quick easy money. Great characters, wonderful voices, and a quick bouncing read. The audiobook I listened to had "mother" singing songs between chapters that illuminated the underlying themes of the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martie | 2/7/2014

    " a bit too cornball for me "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harley | 2/4/2014

    " This is my new favorite novel of the moment. I had more fun reading this than anything in a long time. Suzan-Lori Parks was a new author for me, and I guess this is her only novel. She received a Pulitzer for a play in 2002, and she's foremost a playwright. I loved the heroine, Billy Beede, and her optimism and stubbornness in the face of one and then another plan that doesn't work out. She's unstoppable. She's surrounded by great characters with their own private stories. A satisfying twist at the end. The novel is unique because it's all first person -- but with 19 narrators. A few are tangential characters who only show up once to help us along the way. The book is just over 250 pages, but creates a whole world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn | 1/29/2014

    " It took me a while to get into this, but enjoyed it once I did. I like the style, pared down to the very basics without a lot of frilly, lyrical language. Each chapter is told from the first person perpsective of one of the characters, but what's interesting is how many interesting gaps there are in what you know given all the different inside perspectives you get. And a very interesting character in Dill. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaime | 1/27/2014

    " The story was told through the eyes of many characters, which I enjoyed as the author did a good job of seamlessly drawing their voices together into one strange, dysfunctional story. It was a slow read and then a fast close and for that I was not impressed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kata Conway | 1/21/2014

    " I loved the way the book started, it was very honest and an interesting introduction. The plot and characters are very original and I can still remember now a few years later the story and the visuals I imagined from Park's cool literary style. The book is gritty and deep. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margaret | 1/14/2014

    " I did not really love actually reading this book, but it was one of the best book clubs we have had! We laughed until we almost cried! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 JBradford | 1/4/2014

    " Suzan Lori Parks is a Pulitzer Prize winner, which I guess just goes to show. I am somewhat baffled as to why the NACCP has not risen up in arms about this novel, which recounts the mishaps of a group of poor blacks who get involved in a project of traveling from Texas to Arizona to dig up the body of the mother of the main protagonist (for lack of a better word), because the grave is about to be bulldozed into a shopping mall parking lot, and the protagonist, Billy Beede, is a pregnant teenage girl badly in need of money so she can get an abortion and there is an old legend that the mother (who was no better than she ought to be, as my grandmother would say) was buried by her lesbian pig-farming partner while wearing her diamond ring and pearl necklace. The account is told in a series of small chapters from the point of view of different characters (and also, unfortunately, with a phonetic attempt to imitate their collective illiteracy as well as their lack of understanding of the world around them). The characters should have been more interesting than they were, including Billy’s uncle (a self-taught preacher who has lost his faith) and aunt (a one-legged woman who was left with the baptizing preacher when her family was on the way to California), a teenaged boy who lusts for Billy (and who eventually turns out to be smarter than he appears to be), the traveling salesman who made Billy pregnant, his long suffering wife, and a host of other Beedean relatives they meet along the way. I suppose the intent was to show us what it was like to be a resident of the south in those times. Frankly, William Faulkner did the same thing a lot better in As I Lay Dying. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gwen | 12/27/2013

    " My Book Discussion Group picked this one. It was certainly not one of my favorites. In fact, I thought it was horrible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 12/18/2013

    " This was a uniquely written novel. The dialect threw me sometimes; however, I enjoyed the story being told from a multitude of viewpoints. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liesl | 12/14/2013

    " I had the opportunity to see Parks read at Bookpeople in Austin on July 16, 2003. She said,"I am willing to write not well because I like writing so much." "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 David Simonetti | 12/4/2013

    " I absolutely hated this book. The writing style was bizzarre and unreadable and the plot was no better. How this ever got published is beyond me. I would avoid this like the plague. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jerry | 11/16/2013

    " Their Eyes Were Watching God meets As I Lay Dying. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 10/29/2013

    " A young African American girl find herself pregnant by a man who claims to want to marry her. When she learns he's married with a bunch of kids, she makes plans to go dig up "treasure" that was buried with her mother to "take care" of the baby. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brian Carney | 9/29/2013

    " What a disappointment! As a novelist, Suzan Lori-Parks is a brilliant playwright. With short chapters and constantly shifting narrators with indistinguishable voices, I felt like I kept hitting my head against the wall (like how I felt when I was reading The DaVinci Code, oddly enough.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Mckinley | 8/8/2013

    " Great. I loaned it out to my neighbor months ago. How do you ask nicely that you want your book back? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 7/18/2013

    " Good, very narrative driven, a fast read. A little tense - hard to read about the era at times. Not at all happy with the ending, though! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 12/14/2012

    " Good read. Dialogue was great. I was struck by how well the author made characters with whom I had nothing obvious in common, and in whom I could see few redeeming qualities, come alive and even become likeable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 11/27/2012

    " This book is excellent, and Parks is an amazing writer, but the ending seemed a little like she just wanted to wrap it up in a nice little bow. Very dissatisfying ending, but overall a good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 6/28/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyable novel... way better than her play Venus. I really liked the style of the novel and how everything connected. Not the most cheerful novel but it depicts life very well and provides a sense of rawness "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janie Ewell | 6/22/2012

    " Heard about this book from Carol. Got it because of the author's bio and Pulizer link. Also waiting on Ted Kennedy's book to arrive soon. "

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About the Author
Author Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks is a novelist, playwright, songwriter, and screenwriter. She was the recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for her play Topdog/ Underdog, as well as a 2001 MacArthur “genius grant.” Her other plays include Fucking A, In the Blood, The America Play, Venus, and The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World. Parks currently lives in Venice Beach, California, with her husband, blues musician Paul Scher.