CUP OF LOVE by Franklin White


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A heavy dose of cheerleading for God from a writer often considered a presenter of role models for African-Americans (Fed Up With the Fanny, 1998). As characters, the men here are strong types with a vulnerable sex drive that often gets them into places they don—t belong; the women are the moral center of the tale and require regular sexual “maintenance.” “She had explained over the phone to Ethan that it was time for maintenance—the legendary supreme oil change, complete with filter and pressure check,” says one of them (the automotive metaphor captures the level of imagination and originality here). Vance, the story’s hero, has cheated on Artise, his girl of eight years, once too often, so that, just when he comes into a huge gift of money, Artise is shy about marriage. Then Vance hears God, and with the cash and his efforts to win Artise’s trust, he’s marriageable. Vance’s best friend Ethan, recently returned to Columbus, Ohio, gads about town in the usual ways until God literally speaks to him and tells him to apologize to Tassha for having left her waiting at the altar. Ethan—hired by Vance to help with a museum he’s planning—now has the cash and God, and he and Tassha are restored. Meanwhile, Artise is pregnant with Vance’s child, and while working out issues with her mother, agrees to marry the baby’s father. The two certify their Christian rectitude by marrying on the front lawn of Vance’s new, sumptuous, five-acre, seven-bedroom estate. The bad guys lose in the end, and all who love God come out ahead financially and with true love to boot. Such predictability, it seems, is in keeping with a narrative aim of providing “positive role models.” Socially and culturally, White’s morality play may be a useful intervention, but as a novel it’s little more than baling wire and string.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-84492-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999