‘Gorilla, My Love’ by Toni Cade Bambara

Bambara, Toni Cade 1971

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara, 1971

The magic trick:

Tying together a seemingly stream-of-consciousness narrative with a concept at the end

“Gorilla, My Love” rushes out of the narrative gates and never lets up. Our narrator is rattling off anecdote after anecdote in a seemingly stream-of-consciousness fashion. It’s a rush of language and often very funny. What’s remarkable though is that by story’s end, it’s clear it wasn’t so random a stream. It all ties together under the themes of honesty and deception and adult control. This wasn’t a rollicking ride but a high-concept piece. And that’s quite a trick on Bambara’s part.

The selection:

So the movie come on and right away it’s this churchy music and clearly not about no gorilla. Bout Jesus. And I am ready to kill, not cause I got anything gainst Jesus. Just that when you fixed to watch a gorilla picture you don’t wanna get messed around with Sunday School stuff. So I am mad. Besides, we see the raggedy old brown film King of Kings every year and enough’s enough. Grownups figure they can treat you just anyhow. Which burns me up.


What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

One thought on “‘Gorilla, My Love’ by Toni Cade Bambara

  1. A fascinating critique — and a good lesson for how to judge all fiction — and all from a fairly obscure story-choice. Part of the “magic trick” of this whole site is in alerting us to unsung writers worth our attention.

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