THE ITCH by Benilde Little


Email this review


Little’s second is an improvement over her debut (Good Hair, 1996), although it’s still a watered-down Terry McMillan. Her subject matter—the lives and loves of upper-middle-class black professionals—has remained the same, but she’s tightened her focus, providing some real insight into the lives of her two very different heroines. Abra Lewis Dixon is happy with her life, or so she tells herself. Her husband Cullen is a high-roller in the world of high finance, and the fact that he’s always “out making deals” just seems to Abra like a cross she has to bear. Natasha Coleman, her best friend and business partner, is as involved as Abra in their “Is My Wig On Straight Productions” company. While Abra and Cullen grow farther apart in Manhattan and environs, however, Natasha’s getting hot and heavy in L.A. with the wildly handsome, supersuccessful Miles. And when Abra finds out about Cullen’s dalliances with a salesgirl/model, she musters up the courage to set out for California too, but not before she runs a check on Miles (a girl’s got to look out for her sisters) and learns that he’s a notorious womanizer. Natasha refuses to be warned, however, and when Miles proposes marriage she accepts immediately. Meanwhile, Abra is increasingly attracted to a director by the name of Griffin. Griffin’s problem is that he’s white; and Abra, left damaged by Cullen’s betrayal, is determined to find a man with common decency and a common culture. And so there are no happy endings here, at least of the traditional sort. Abra and Natasha will be grateful in the long run, we’re led to assume, for the dissolution of these relationships, but in present-time, the finale is downbeat and rather flat. Little has no trouble, though, with characterization, and both Abra and Natasha are likable and real; further, the women’s shared realization that they don—t need men—black or white—to define themselves rings true.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-83834-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1998


FictionWHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS? by Benilde Little
by Benilde Little
FictionACTING OUT by Benilde Little
by Benilde Little
FictionGOOD HAIR by Benilde Little
by Benilde Little