THE BLACKBIRDS by Eric Jerome Dickey


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Four friends, nicknamed the Blackbirds, push each other to live their best lives as they navigate life and love in Los Angeles.

As the book begins, four women are on the cusp of a jump from an airplane. We see not only their fear, but their willingness. Their joy. Their deep-seated trust in one another. This is how Dickey (Naughtier Than Nice, 2015, etc.) introduces the Blackbirds. Together, they are a fortress of mutual love, respect, and support. Cycling through each of their birthdays over the course of a year, the novel interweaves four points of view as relationships—not just romantic, but familial and platonic—are built, fall, and change. Indigo, the pride of her Nigerian parents, must make an advantageous match worthy of her heritage, leading to conflict and new possibilities. Nerdy Destiny, always in the shadows, balances an old secret with a new relationship. Meanwhile, Ericka, divorced and in remission from cancer, acts as big sister to the much younger trio but needs guidance in her own life, particularly when it comes to a complicated attraction to Destiny’s father. And Kwanzaa is bitter and lonely after ending a six-year relationship, having learned about her fiance’s cheating in the worst way possible. Within fewer than 10 pages, all four women spring to appealing life, regardless—or perhaps partly because—of their flaws. They have one rule: “Always build each other up. No crabs, no barrel, never pull each other down.” They may gibe, but they support each other through all the weirdness they encounter.

In this sensual tale, words stoke the body and the imagination. With prose that is both witty and current, Dickey chronicles the pothole-filled journey four modern black women take to find love.

Pub Date: April 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-101-98410-9
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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