Dana L. Davis is an actress, a classical violinist, and now an author. Her debut novel, Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is a remarkable book about a sixteen-year-old young woman who has found herself in a tsunami of change after her mother dies from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Because Grams is an elderly resident in an assisted living facility, suddenly Tiffany is flying from low-income housing in Chicago to a mansion in Los Angeles to live with the doctor dad she didn’t even know existed. Uprooted from her familiar neighborhood, school, and friends and suffering from anxiety disorder, Tiffany must find comfort with a stepmother, four sisters, and a father figure whose house rules require a sport, prohibit cursing, forbid hair extensions, and serve Jehovah God.
Some of these rules seem rigid and even unreasonable, as Tiffany’s extensions are hiding her alopecia, stress-induced hair loss; even Tiffany’s hair is recovering from trauma. And to add to her high stress, Xavior Xavion believes he may be Tiffany’s real father and is giving her seven days before she will be asked to submit to DNA testing.
Although this trauma and these adjustments form the basis of the book’s plot, Davis does more than just share a coping story. Tiffany enjoys music and can ease her stress and sorrows by playing her Gibson acoustic guitar, Little Buddy. She also connects with both Xavior Xavion and Anthony Stone through music and discovers why her mom always referenced Sly and the Family Stone.
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now includes additional lessons on nonconformity, being comfortable with who you are, not screwing up your life because you can’t control your rage, love as action, work, and commitment, and how we all contain godliness.
Many of these morals come after Tiffany befriends Marcus McKinney, whose heart stopped but came back to life and who now is a high risk for sudden death. From Marcus, Tiffany learns to allow three questions to guide her speaking: “If you propose to speak, ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind” (166). Marcus also teaches her how our reactions to what’s happening shape our life experience and that we all have the power to create and make a positive difference. But perhaps his strongest message comes through his nonconformist behavior and his appreciation for kindness and compassion.
- Posted by Donna