Author: Fran Ross, Harryette Mullen
Publisher: Northeastern University Press
Release Date: September 22, 2000
One of a few works of satire written by African American women, Oreo is an uproariously funny novel about relations between African Americans and Jews. It is as fresh and outrageous today as when it was first published in 1974.
Born of a Jewish father and black mother, Oreo grows up in Philadelphia with her grandparents while her mother tours with a theatrical group. Soon after puberty Oreo heads for New York to search for her father, but in the big city she discovers that there are dozens of Sam Schwartzes. Oreo's mission turns into a wickedly humorous picaresque quest, reminiscent of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus. This is an ambitious and playful narrative that challenges not only the accepted notions of race, ethnicity, and identity, but also those of the novelistic form itself.