Fracaswell Hyman’s New YA Novel ‘Mango All the Time’ Is a Delight

0

Since moving to Wilmington a few years ago, Fracaswell Hyman has been a familiar face in the port city.

He played Hoke in the Thalian Association’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy” last year and he was emcee for the StarNews Wilmington Theater Awards in March 2020.

In a separate life, Hyman – originally from Wilson, North Carolina – served as a writer or producer for a number of television shows, including “The Famous Jett Jackson” for The Disney Channel, “Gullah Gullah Island” for Nickelodeon and “Romeo” for Teen Nick. More recently, he directed “Bookmarks – Celebrating Black Writers” for Netflix.

Along the way, Hyman wrote a series of children’s books featuring Mango Delight Fuller, a pretty, generous, and talented seventh-grade student. (Mango Delight? Well, her Jamaican-born dad is a chef and caterer.)

Wilmington's Fracaswell Hyman directed 11 of the 12 episodes of the new Netflix show

In “Mango Delight” (2018), she tried her hand at college play and succeeded. In Mango in the City (2020), she arrived on the New York scene (well, Off-Off-Off-Broadway, but still.) Now, in “Mango All the Time”, the third and final book of the series, it arrives in Hollywood.

Following:Thalian’s ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ counts, lightly, with South’s racist legacy

Following:Netflix kids’ show debuts, directed by Wilmington man

In the new novel, a friend from the New York production arranges for Mango to audition for a role on a new cable show. (It sounds like a time-traveling version of “Hannah Montana.”) She flies to Los Angeles with her dad and best friend, TJ

Unfortunately, Mango’s screen test bombs. But then she gets the chance to sing at the Hollywood Bowl. And when the star of the series picks up, the producers want to throw Mango in the lead.

It’s like a dream come true, but… Working in Hollywood would mean the whole family would move to the coast. Mango should say goodbye to his friends at Trueheart Middle School. Being tutored between filming sessions, she would miss most regular school experiences. Being a star can be lonely. Mango has to decide if it’s for her.

Following:Honey Head Films Creates Buzz for Wilmington’s Independent Film Community

Hyman certainly knows his territory and his images of life on a soundstage are compelling. Meanwhile, Mango faces some very real challenges for someone 12 and three quarters old. She meets wicked divas and dreamboat guys who turn out to be jerks. She hits roadblocks but, with her dad’s support (and silly jokes), she bounces back.

Hyman asks Mango to note how many African Americans hold jobs in the television and film industry, including managerial positions. Part of the plot echoes many old Hollywood movies, which is probably intentional. But Hyman’s young audiences certainly haven’t seen those movies, so “Mango All the Time” will feel fresh and new to them.

The book underscores the message that dreams can come true – but you have to work hard for them.

“Building a Legacy”

Veteran educator Bertha Todd wrote and self-published a story from the Wilmington chapter of The Links Inc., the national service organization for African American women.

“Building a Legacy of Friendship and Service for 70 Years” marks the anniversary of the chapter’s founding in 1951, just five years after the national organization was launched. Founding members included Celeste Barnett Eaton, wife of civil rights leader Dr. Hubert Eaton Sr., and B. Constance O’Dell.

Copies of the new book can be ordered from any Links member or by calling 910-216-0409.

BOOK REVIEW

‘MANGO ALL THE TIME’

By Fracaswell Hyman

British pound, $18

Share.

Comments are closed.