I have watched the first two seasons of Queen Sugar and am in the middle of the third. The show tells the story of three African-American siblings and those around them. The story takes place in Louisiana where Queen Sugar is sugar cane. The show has taken on some tough issues, including police treatment of Black men and the difficulties of being a woman running a cane business, and has done so well. I was curious to read the book after seeing the series although usually I have read first and watched second. The book is different from the TV series in some ways. For example, Charley is a widow, not married/divorced from a professional basketball player and Micah is a girl, not a boy, and not a teen, while Ralph-Angel’s wife died unlike in the TV series where Blue’s mother faces substance abuse issues. Still, there is a story to tell and Natalie Bazile does it well.
Already a widow raising an 11-year-old daughter, Charley Bordelon is further disoriented by the death of her adoring father. He has left her an 800-acre sugarcane field in their native Louisiana, attaching clear restrictions that she must revive the farm or give it to charity, with no option to sell the farm or share it with her estranged half brother, Ralph Angel. So Charley and her reluctant daughter, Micah, relocate from L.A. to rural Louisiana, welcomed into the bosom of the family by her grandmother, Miss Honey. But they walk into old family tensions when Ralph Angel and his 6-year-old son, Blue, come for an extended stay. Charley arrives just in time for the growing season, facing dilapidated fields desperately in need of care. As a citified black woman with no experience in farming, can she make a go of it as a sugarcane farmer in an area that clings to privileges afforded to whites, males, and the wealthy? In alternating chapters, Baszile shows the separate paths that lead Charley and Ralph Angel back home in this exploration of family ties and disconnections. –Vanessa Bush
You decide TV? Book? Both? Let me know what you think!