Kensington, Mar 2003, 24.00, 304 pp.
Almost forty, Regina Pearson has always felt like an outsider in her home on Oahu, but now also feels all alone since her father recently died. She knows nothing about her extended family except that her parents left the Southeast United States without a look back four decades ago. Her mother died when she was two and over the subsequent years her father refused to talk about their life in the states.
Regina finds an envelope postmarked from the year before she was born from a Maude Witherspoon of New Bern, North Carolina with no letter inside. She makes inquiries and soon makes contact with her Aunt Maude van der Kaa, who invites her to visit the family. Regina goes stateside hoping to bond with her relatives, but instead finds individuals filled with animosity and distrust of everyone else. Only retired Army Colonel Justin Duval, whom she met over hotel business, makes her believe her fairy tale that a family can be full of love and trust.
BLUE FROM DOWN DEEP is an intriguing relationship drama that uses a twist on Roots to enable the audience to observe dysfunctional families hiding behind lies and deceit. The story line could have turned melodramatic and soap operaish, but Gwynne Forster avoids that pratfall by making much of the cast multidimensional and several simply nasty and filled with their own self worth. Thus the audience recives a strong look at an extended Southeastern African American family predominately through the eyes of the “Hawaiian” newcomer.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner