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Rice, Patty

RICE, Patty

PERSONAL:

Raised in MD; children: Tonja, Pamela. Education: Attended George Washington University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Lanham, MD. Agent—Nina Graybill, Graybill & English, LLC, 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 712, Washington, DC 20009.

CAREER:

Poet and novelist. George Washington University, Washington, DC, office staff; newsletter assistant editor.

MEMBER:

My Sister Writers (cofounder).

WRITINGS:

Somethin' Extra (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Reinventing the Woman (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Also the author of the poetry chapbook Manmade Heartbreak.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Writing a third novel.

SIDELIGHTS:

Novelist Patty Rice writes what she terms "self-help fiction," about African-American women who overcome abuse and their feelings of helplessness to build fulfilling lives for themselves. "I want women to understand that we are viable people," Rice told Metro Connection interviewer Sharee Brooks. "We tend to define ourselves by whether we have a man or whether we have children. We just need to know that we are good enough just standing alone."

In Rice's first novel, Somethin' Extra, the protagonist is twenty-five-year-old Genie Gatlin. Genie's mother committed suicide because of her father's infidelity, and from this Genie has drawn the conclusion that men are not to be trusted. She habitually becomes involved with married men, which prevents her relationships from becoming too serious. Her strategy works, until one man leaves his family for her, only to decide that he wants to return to his family, leaving Genie shattered. Booklist reviewer June Hathaway-Vigor wrote, "The pages will fly as readers find out how [Genie] builds a healthy, whole life out of the wreckage."

Rice, a long-time resident of the Washington, D.C., suburb of Prince George's County, Maryland, used that area as a setting both for Somethin' Extra and her second novel, Reinventing the Woman. At the beginning of Reinventing the Woman, the main character, Camille, ends her relationship with her boyfriend of seven years, unable to endure any more of his abusive attacks. With nowhere else to go, Camille leaves the home she shared with her boyfriend in New Jersey and moves in with her older sister, Melanie, who lives in suburban Maryland, where the sisters were raised. Moving back to Maryland forces Camille to confront the conflicts that led her to leave home in the first place—primarily that her mother, Catherine, always favored Melanie. When Catherine helps Camille get a job with "Reinventing the Woman," a business owned by motivational speaker Nora Jordan, Camille begins to develop confidence in herself, which leads her to build a better life for herself. "The heroine's psychological breakthrough is neatly accomplished," a reviewer commented in Publishers Weekly.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Black Issues Book Review, March, 2001, Erica Woods Tucker, review of Reinventing the Woman, p. 23.

Booklist, December 1, 1999, June Hathaway-Vigor, review of Somethin' Extra, p. 685.

Essence, January, 2001, review of Reinventing the Woman, p. 60.

Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Molly Gorman, review of Somethin' Extra, p. 100; November 1, 2000, Ann Burns and Emily Joy Jones, review of Reinventing the Woman, p. 102.

Prince George's Journal (Prince George's County, MD), February 15, 2000, Sherree Price, interview with Rice, p. A6.

Publishers Weekly, November 6, 2000, review of Reinventing the Woman, p. 68.

ONLINE

Berkley Jove Authors Web site,http://berkleyjoveauthors.com/ (November 13, 2003), "Patty Rice."

G.R.I.T.S. Online Reading Club,http://www.thegrits.com/ (November 13, 2003), review of Reinventing the Woman.

Metro Connection,http://www.blackindc.com/ (November 13, 2003), Sharee Brooks, "Feeling the Pages with Patty Rice."

Penguin Putnam Web site,http://www.penguinputnam.com/ (November 13, 2003), "Patty Rice."

Washingtonian Online,http://www.washingtonian.com/ (November 13, 2003), Courtney Porter Martin, review of Reinventing the Woman.

Ye Olde Font Shoppe,http://www.webcom.com/yeolde/ (November 13, 2003), "Manmade Heartbreak by Patty Rice."*

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