No one ever called Delia Dukes by her real name. Instead, they called her Duck, because, as everyone said, she was the ugly one. Her older sister, Merline, was the perfect one - beautiful, precocious, well mannered. Merline was the pride of Greenville, Texas's Negro community, and Duck was just her unfortunate-looking younger sister. But Duck was smarter than anyone expected, and, growing up in her small, segregated town in the 1930s and 1940s, she knew secrets. In fact, she knew the biggest secret of all: the fact that her seventeen-year-old sister was pregnant by Greenville's heir apparent, Kenny Banks.When she was seventeen, Duck took her secrets to Chicago, where she cleaned jazz clubs and dreamed about singing on stages instead of cleaning them. By 1960, Duck was known on the Chicago jazz scene as Delia Dukes, a middling singer who didn't quite have what it took to play the Blue Note, but who did quite well in the city's second-tier clubs. By 1970, Duck and Merline's mother died, and, for the first time in twenty years, Duck and Merline were reunited.
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August 2010 : USA Mass Market Paperback