LOVE LESSONS by George Davis


African Americans and Sex, Romance and Marriage in the Nineties
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 This look at love and sexuality among African-Americans lacks neither candor nor style. Davis's (coauthor, Black Life in Corporate America, 1982; English and Journalism/Rutgers Univ.) 12 studies are all, more or less, responses to the question ``What is love?'' And while there are some upbeat moments, the tone is predominantly poignant, and many of the people whom Davis interviews are in the same state of emotional paralysis as James Joyce's characters in Dubliners. For instance, in ``Love Don't Need No Reasons,'' Davis interviews an elderly trucker who, before he recently found religion and married, lived with a young student at the university where he delivers fruit. Although the man claims that he is over the young woman, who apparently took him for his money and then left him without warning, Davis makes it clear with his questioning and accompanying commentary that it just isn't so. Other images are more stark, as in ``The `We' That Love Creates,'' wherein a young woman with a small child ends up back on her parents' doorstep after leaving her drug-addicted boyfriend. Even the final piece, an affirmative view of the Afrocentric aspect of black culture, has an odd resemblance to Joyce's ``The Dead,'' with its emphasis on the spirits of deceased ancestors and, like most of the other vignettes, its preoccupation with loves lost. Still, despite a seeming unity of pain behind Davis's collection, the range of topics covered is wide: Intraracial preoccupations with skin color, date rape, and teenage sexuality all find significant mention. Davis has deftly woven together a collection that will appear as wise to black readers as it is informative to the outsider taking a first look at African-American sexuality and relationships.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-14864-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997


NonfictionTHE NAUGHTY NINETIES by David Friend
by David Friend