Oreo has been raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note. Oreo’s quest is to find her father, and discover the secret of her birth.
What ensues in Fran Ross's opus is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb.
Oreo, our young hero, navigates the labyrinth of sound studios and brothels and subway tunnels in Manhattan, seeking to claim her birthright while unwittingly experiencing and triggering a mythic journey of self-discovery like no other.
About the Author
Fran Ross was born in 1935 and grew up in Philadelphia. She graduated from high school when she was fifteen years old and went onto study Communications, Journalism, and Theatre at Temple University. She moved to New York in 1960, where she worked as a proofreader and journalist. Oreo was originally published in 1974 during the height of the Black Power Movement. She then moved to Los Angeles to write comedy for Richard Pryor. She died in 1985 in New York.
"Boisterous, frisky and dazzlingly clever. An absolute gem."
Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching
" A ground-breaking satire."
"Readers who enjoy play-on-words and post-modern novels will love this book."
"The brilliant, hilarious, multilingual, brash, tender, bawdy, and unsentimental voice of Ross's heroine equals the rare and outrageous voice of Ross herself."
Women's Review of Books
"Oreo is one of the funniest books I've ever read. To convey Oreo's humor effectively, I would have to use the comedic graphs, menus, and quizzes Ross uses in the novel. So instead, I just settle for, 'You have to read this'."
Mat Johnson, NPR Books