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Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau Paperback – 10 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; 4th edition (10 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312119313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312119317
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,365,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr Jewell Parker Rhodes is the Founding Artistic Director and Endowed Chair for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 51 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By David D. Warner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Kudos to Jewell Parker Rhodes for an extraordinary piece of fiction based, in part, on fact. While some might argue that the picture Ms. Rhodes paints of the three Marie Laveaus is not entirely born out by the historical evidence, let's set the record straight. Take a close look at the title on the cover ... Ms. Rhodes clearly acknowledges that this amazing book is a NOVEL and never claims herself to be the definitive biographer of the REAL Marie Laveau or any of Marie's decendents.
That said, there are several reasons why I believe this book deserves 5 stars. First, the vivid imagery used so eloquently by Ms. Rhodes harkens back to the days of old when ALL history was oral history and story-telling was an art. What she has given us is a passionate tale of female courage in the face of injustice, triumph, tragedy, adventure, mystery and faith -- all packaged in a format that is superbly written and masterfully structured.
In my opinion, with VOODOO DREAMS, Jewell Parker Rhodes shines where most of the current best-selling authors fail. She leaves you begging for more, NOT wishing you'd spent your money at Starbucks.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Jewell Parker Rhodes breathes life into the legend of Laveau 20 Nov 2001
By Candace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is wonderfully written novel. Rhodes did a terrific job of dramatizing the legacy of this remarkable woman. Her characters come to life with each page the reader turns.
Whether or not one believes in or practices Voodoo, this book is an insightful and entertaining read. It discusses the beliefs and origin of the Voudon, and provides a glimpse into a world that many try to ignore.
A captivating read and a lyrical novel, I was engrossed in the story of Marie and her legacy. As the title suggests, I found myself having dreams about Marie Laveau.
Candace K
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Demeaning to the Legend of Marie Laveau 12 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although Jewell Parker Rhodes considers herself a feminist, she has taken the story of one of the most powerful women in American history and turned her into a frightened, insecure child. The Marie Laveau of "Voodoo Dreams" is a weak woman, incapable of standing on her own two feet and is constantly relying on other men to help her. Rhodes chooses to have her Marie seduced and imprisoned by Papa John (although there are no hard facts indicating a relationship between the two contemporaries). As the plot unfolds, her Marie is either constantly wishing to return to the lap of her grandmother or fantasizing about the bed of Papa John, despite his constant abuse and rape. Marie is portrayed as a puppet, forced to perform before a screaming crowd, as Papa John counts the money on the sidelines. Readers who are familiar with the legend of Marie Laveau will no doubt be disturbed by this Marie's cries of "I am only a woman . . . I am not in control." The difference between Rhodes' Marie, and the Marie of Robert Tallant's "Voodoo Queen" is stunning. Although Tallant writes in drier prose, his Marie is a vibrant, powerful, charismatic and inventive woman. Whereas Rhodes' Marie is a sheltered and emotional, crippled by the intensity of her spiritual experiences. If I had read "Voodoo Dreams" first, perhaps I would have been seduced by Rhodes' admittedly beautiful prose. But I read Robert Tallant's "Voodoo Queen" first, and I absolutely cannot stomach the hideous distortion of a great woman into this sniveling little girl. I do NOT recommend this book for those who admire Marie Laveau or enjoy a strong female character. It is well and poetically written . . . but demeaning to the legend of the great voodoo queen, and to the sophistication of the religion that birthed her.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
New Orleans, money, and voodoo 5 Mar 2004
By R.E.A.L. Reviewers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Just in time for the Halloween "holiday" celebrated by real and replica ghosts, witches, and goblins, an old story of New Orlean's most renowned Voodooienne, Marie Laveau is a perfect read. Rhodes takes great detail to write a historical sketch on the lives of three generations of Voodoo Queens; Grandmere`, Maman, and finally Marie. All three women are named Marie, but the most revered of them is the last one born. The money hungry and foul tempered John and Marie's sweetheart of a husband, Jacque, serve as love interests to add an interesting twist to the storyline once Marie answers the call of Damballah, the ultimate god in the African spirit world who would only possess the body of a voodoo priestess. Characters like Ziti, Nattie, Bridgette, Louis and Ribauld add spice to the mix of the story line as the reader delves into Marie's life story from childhood to the end of her long "career" as a spiritual healer/vessel for African spirits.

Though the book may appear daunting in length, once I opened up the book, Rhodes weaved a spell on me from start to finish by making me wonder where the history ended and where the fiction began in this book. There are so many mysteries surrounding Marie Laveau's life that I was pleased to have a few questions answered and simultaneously be schooled on some of the history of the religion brought over from the African American homeland. Was/is voodoo just a way for blacks to make money by praying on the hopes of those who believed in voodoo's "dark powers" during a time period when job opportunities were scarce for freed blacks in the late 19th century? Exactly how long did Marie live? These were just a few of the questions that I wanted answered when I picked up this book ... and in the true nature of this mysterious religion, I was given just enough information to whet my appetite as I flipped from page to page looking for more answers.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is as enthralled as I am with the history of the city full of spirits, mysteries, and an American history that could rival the Egyptian hieroglyphics in its complexity. Looking for more than just a good book to read at the beach? Pick this one up. Faint of heart or a scaredy cat of this highly notorious religion? Read the book anyway. You just might be surprised at how much fear can be dispelled by learning what the "unknown" is all about.

R.E.A.L. Reviewers
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Stays in my memory 1 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book many years ago and it is still alive in me.I disagree with other reviewers who criticize the fact that the book is not the "true" Marie Laveau. The subtitle itself says it is a NOVEL about M.Laveau (not a biography). It is its own novelistic, spell-weaving, story-telling atmospheric quality that offers the book's gifts, not its historiograpic accuracy. Ms.Parker Rhodes displays a high craft of language and narrative that still haunts me.
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