“It is high time defenders of American literary fiction cut Oprah Winfrey a break. These days, even Oprah is no longer Oprah, and while Mathis’s novel has shot up into the bestseller lists, it is unlikely stay there for months the way books did in the Book Club’s 1990s heyday. Still, imagine what would have happened if Winfrey hadn’t picked it. It still would have garnered raves from reviewers in print and online, and over time booksellers would have begun quietly putting it in the hands of favored customers. In other words, it would have remained a well-kept secret among a bookish few.” Our own Michael Bourne defends the queen of American book clubs.
My mom watched Oprah from the very beginning, back in the mid-eighties, when her hair was Tina Turner-in-Thunderdome-huge and her wardrobes and sets were a rainbow of pastel. Mom was a sucker for daytime talk shows of that era.
From the archives: Sean Manning remembers his mother through her love of the Oprah Winfrey show in “Oprahtherapy.”