Some Sing, Some Cry is a 200 year history of a family starting from just out of slavery and reaching into the modern age. This family, heralded by the matriarch Mah Bette is both held together and torn apart by the resonance that music and singing plays in each generation. In the end, the music binds them together more than it tears them apart, but each generation has its own story to tell of love and music.
I thought it was an interesting tool to use music as the thread to run through a book. The Shange and Bayeza sisters researched this well and got the feel of the different musical time periods as well as how someone who sang that type of music would behave - without being stereotypical.
I found the story of Mah Bette and her various descendents compelling for the most part. The first 100 years or so after slavery were well developed and included great story lines about each of the family members. My problem came with the last 150 to 200 pages of the book which encompassed the 2nd 100 years. The book is almost 600 pages long and the 2nd 100 years probably only encompasses the last 150-200 pages of the book. While you still felt some affinity to the characters, it was still hard to develop a relationship with them because it almost felt as if the story being told was straight out of Mathew in the New Testament:
1:2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren.
1:3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram.
There was more than the begatting in the last 150-200 pages, but I think you get my point.
I did like the book - I think mostly because of the music. The authors used music as a way to convey thoughts and feelings and had a way of sharing the music they talked about in the phrases of the book. I could hear the music as I read this book and despite the 'begatting' in the last couple of hundred pages, I could hear the music through to the end of the book and that is why I gave it a higher rating than I would have otherwise. If you like music and a good story to go along with it, then read this book.