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by Denene Millner & Nick Chiles

Pub Date: March 4th, 2002
ISBN: 0-525-94641-1
Publisher: Dutton

From a husband-wife team specializing in relationship guides geared to African-Americans: a first fiction that itself reads much like a guide about what not to do—in romance and storytelling.

Taking turns in alternating chapters, Mikki and Randy spin out their story, although, even with the first-person narratives, their motivations seem a bit dim. Randy, in Paris for a few months on business, is thrilled when he hears of his promotion for good work done but frightened of his wife’s reaction when he tells her he’ll have to spend another few months in the City of Lights. Mikki, back at their home in Brooklyn and taking care of her thriving business as a bridal designer, resents Randy’s having left and will no doubt fume at an extension of his stay. Or so Randy thinks. Little does he know that Mikki has found her way into the arms of someone else, none other than Marcus, Randy's best friend. When Mikki goes to Paris to rekindle their relationship, the two barely get along, each hyperbolically blaming the other for minor transgressions. Back at home, Mikki continues her affair with Marcus (and Randy is no angel in Paris), certain she’s in love and ready for divorce. Intuitive enough to know his marriage is in trouble, Randy goes home and asks his best friend for advice. The road gets only more crooked from there on. The team's depiction of this tangled web (echoed in a subplot featuring Mikki’s adulterous father) is candid and uncompromising, though it falters in the endless repetition of scenes that do nothing to clarify the characters' behavior. Instead of elucidating, the alternate narratives simply read like bickering voices, deaf to any other, and consequently exhausting to listen to.

A clever idea, filled with hip references and attitudes—but no new perspective on love or marriage.