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New Release: Jenniemae & James

51NeBTCd1ML._SL160_By Brooke Newman
Harmony | 320pgs
Release Date: March 30, 2010

Brooke Newman recounts the true story of the unusual, yet enduring friendship between her father, James and his African-American housekeeper Jenniemae, in Jenniemae & James: A Memoir in Black and White. James Newman was a brilliant and distinguished mathematician, well known for defining the “googol” (google) concept in math and authoring the important work The World of Mathematics. In contrast, Jenniemae Harrington was a poor, uneducated, heavy-set woman, who though deeply religious, loved to play the lottery with numbers that came to her in dreams. During the ’40′s and ’50′s, the unlikely pair bonded through their sharp minds and shared love of numbers. As racial tensions rose throughout the country, planting the seeds for the Civil Rights Movement, household tensions grew due to James’ infidelities and his wife’s emotional problems. Through it all, Jenniemae became a steady, loving force in the home. This bi-racial friendship may have been outside the cultural norm of the time, yet it blossomed into a wellspring of calm, caring and loyalty for Jenniemae, James, and his family.

In addition to writing books, Brooke Newman is also an editor, screenwriter and playwright. Her 2002 book The Little Tern, an illustrated modern fable for adults, has sold over a million copies. Critical reviews have been quite favorable for this unique tale of friendship. Kirkus Reviews writes: “A low-key, sweet portrait of an unusual friendship. Jenniemae is a scene-stealer, though, and the strongest parts of the memoir focus on her and her community.”

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