Joe, Yolanda 1962(?)-
JOE, Yolanda 1962(?)-
Author and journalist. Former Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) news producer.
Falling Leaves of Ivy, Longmeadow Press (Stamford, CT), 1992.
He Say, She Say, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1997.
Bebe's by Golly Wow, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.
This Just In …, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2000.
(As Ardella Garland) Details at Ten (mystery), Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
(As Ardella Garland) Hit Time (mystery), Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
The Hatwearer's Lesson, Dutton (New York, NY), 2003.
My Fine Lady, Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.
Chicago-born author Yolanda Joe, who also writes mystery books under the name Ardella Garland, always wanted to be a writer. Composing poetry from the age of seven, she credits her family, teachers, and church members with giving her the praise that encouraged her to keep working toward her dream. After winning several academic scholarships, Joe attended Yale University, and spent the summer following her junior year studying at Oxford University in England. She completed her education with a masters degree from the Columbia School of Journalism before returning home to Chicago, where she began working in news radio and then television news as a writer and producer.
Joe's books explore relationships between friends, family, and lovers in today's society. In an interview for Essence, she said, "You have to write the things that come to your heart." Her novel, He Say, She Say, delves into the differences between men and women and the ways in which they relate, alternating among the points of view of the four main characters, two men and two women. Booklist reviewer Lillian Lewis wrote that "the characters interact with humor, compassion, honesty, and gender bias … sure to be a best-seller."
Bebe's by Golly Wow also makes use of alternating points of view. The novel follows the protagonist, Bebe, on her first date with Isaac Sizemore, a handsome fireman, and through the obstacle course their developing relationship constitutes. A contributor for Publishers Weekly called the novel "an exuberant if unambitious tale of love discovered in the nick of time by two lonely, forty-something African Americans living in Chicago."
In This Just In … five women struggle against both racism and sexism as they cover a wealth of news stories and strive to excel in their various jobs. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted "Joe's novel is structured like a news broadcast, with chapter headings as preview 'teasers,' but the gimmick is awkward." Angela Ards, in Black Issues Book Review, wrote that Joe's novel "reads like breaking news: fast-paced, attention-grabbing, dramatic." Ards went on to not that "Joe offers an enjoyable, identifiable story perfect for light summer reading."
The Hatwearer's Lesson tells the story of Grandma Ollie and her granddaughter whom Ollie has raised since birth. Ollie has a sixth sense about things, so when her pen runs out as she enters Terri's marital engagement in the family bible, she takes it as a sign. Terri, a successful lawyer, is certain everything is fine, but soon learns not to doubt her grandmother's instincts. Joe explores the meaning of family and the strength of roots through Terri and Ollie's relationship. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book a "warmhearted country romance," and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that "this is a spirited fairy tale for young black professional women with an ending as predictable, and as satisfying, as one would expect." Black Issues Book Review writer Glenn Townes observed that "Joe has developed an uncanny knack for weaving realism with slight exaggeration. The concept works well and ultimately makes for entertaining, yet thought-provoking reading."
Imani, the protagonist of My Fine Lady, is a young woman with a powerful singing voice. Just starting her career, she finds that all the men in her life have suggestions and advice: her father, a struggling nightclub owner; her boyfriend, an aspiring producer; and a college music professor, Orenthal Hopson, who thinks she should sing jazz instead of hip-hop. Imani ends up going agreeing with Hopson in this modern-day version of the classic Eugene O'Neill play, Pygmalion. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews wrote that Joe's "imaginative wordsmithing often reaches soul-stirring highs." Patty Engelmann, writing for Booklist, stated that "Joe's compelling tale about one woman's coming into her own and the dichotomy between educated African Americans and those living in poverty may well become a popular classic in its own right."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Issues Book Review, July, 2000, Angela Ards, review of This Just In …, p. 24; March-April, 2003, Glenn Townes, review of The Hatwearer's Lesson, p. 45.
Booklist, September 1, 1996, Lillian Lewis, review of He Say, She Say, p. 31; March 1, 2003, Vanessa Bush, review of The Hatwearer's Lesson, p. 1145; January 1, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of My Fine Lady, p. 822.
Essence, May, 2003, interview with Joe, p. 137.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of The Hatwearer's Lesson, p. 13; January 15, 2004, review of My Fine Lady, p. 55.
Library Journal, April 1, 1997, Mark Annichiarico, review of He Say, She Say, p. 145; July, 1997, review of He Say, She Say, p. 152.
Publishers Weekly, September 7, 1992, review of Falling Leaves of Ivy, p. 76; May 18, 1998, review of Bebe's By Golly Wow, p. 71; March 20, 2000, review of This Just In…, p. 73; February 10, 2003, review of The Hatwearer's Lesson, p. 162; March 1, 2004, review of My Fine Lady, p. 48.
School Library Journal, September, 2003, Joyce Fay Fletcher, review of The Hatwearer's Lesson, p. 240.
Read in Color Web site,http://www.readincolor.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Yolanda Joe."
Time Warner Web site,http://www.twbookmark.com/ (September 27, 2004), "Yolanda Joe."
Yolanda Joe Home Page,http://www.yolandajoe.com (September 27, 2004).*