FED UP WITH THE FANNY

The enthusiastic (if slightly sappy and overearnest) White joins a new movement of male African-American writers (e.g., Eric Jerome Dickey, among others) who want to portray ``good'' black men, rather than the more frequent media representations of gangstas and deadbeat dads. Kahlil Richardson, a handsome, educated, six-foot five-inch ``chocolate brother,'' with five sisters and a widowed mom, is an ad executive at Detroit's Houston Corporation by day, and a babe- magnet both by day and night. Kahlil finds his women, though, to be a constant source of tension and conflict. First, there's Cece, the supposed love of his life, whose distrustfulness and manipulative best friend interfere with what could be Kahlil's main chance for true romantic happiness. Then there's his best pal, Dewayna, with her fly-by-night husband, Demitrious, who continually neglects his responsibilities concerning their son Octavious. Not to mention Sonje, Kahlil's politically powerful and sexually voracious former lover, who won't let anything stand in the way of her own success, and, finally, his oldest sister Leandra, whose son Sid (Kahlil's nephew) is in tons of trouble and headed for more. It's Sid's gang associations that form the bulk of the dramatic action here. Due to Kahlil's work for the Urban Coalition, a grassroots organization that strives to ensure that the black community is adequately represented in the city of Detroit, he takes a particular interest in rescuing Sid from oncoming demise. As Kahlil deals with his demanding women, he releases stress by harping on about the ``suck- ass white boys'' in his office—and thereby falls into his own trap of stereotyping. Eventually, he realizes that life (surprise) is more complicated than he'd thought. Lively language and colorful characters, but the shifting point-of-view is confusing and the plot loose, at best.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-684-84491-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1997

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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