Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cherry Pickings


Ezra Griffith has written a commanding portrait of philosophies that won me over on the first page. His memoir traverses back and forth over his life living in Barbados and the U.S., and the impact his father primarily, and community of family had on his spiritual and moral growth.

While I loved the digest on Road View, and as well the challenges Ezra presented his father (particularly in the opening); referring to his father as 'the man', and questioning his father's faith on God's plan, what I really appreciated was the overall moral tone taken from the philosophies presented. Fathers, and men, are crucial to the development of helping boys become men.

I must admit, although the moral principles are on point, the traversing back and forth made this Barbados family memoir challenging at times to follow.

I vote Péron Long's 'The First Person' novel, to include how well the title even, meshes with the structure of the storytelling, as the most uniquely written sexed driven novel I've ever read.

The suspense is way up there, despite the novel being chocked full of conventional clichés. Normally conventional novels are very predictable novels, but not this one. The twists and turns continue unabated until the very end, and I'm positive this was not unintentional. Very well done. In fact, let me insert right here, this strategy was over the top.

Now, answering a few of the questions at the back of the book may better elucidate this praise.

3 – My overall thoughts of Justine immediately paralleled Tanisha's. I, too, questioned the First Lady's spirituality. She was written very shallow and trite; despite a part of me wanting to believe this wasn't how the author intended she be percieved. 

4 – I also figured out who Brandi was near the beginning of the novel. I'm a little annoyed I can no longer figure out which sentence it was that tripped me, which may be just as well to avoid giving away any spoilers, but there was a sentence that so stumped me, that I instantly flipped to the back of the book where... ah ha... read the list of questions and figured out just who Brandi was.

5 – And this question, answering my overall thoughts on Seth, sort of sums up my guess on the premise of the novel. Seth's character, as most of the characters, to exclude T'Shobi and Tanisha, simply were not flushed out enough to build an overall thought of them as people. In Seth's case I honestly waited and waited, and then went back and searched and searched for so much as one clause, or clue, that might help define where church or anything remotely close to religion, or spirituality even, resided in that man.

And yet, the twists and turns really make this novel sing. Not only is it a very unique read, but an intriguing page turner as well.


'Ginnie's' memoir wholly and totally won me over. Kathy truly has preserved her mother's story, and voice well. I'm sure this will be one of my top ten book selections for the year. 

I may need another day to clean up my review, but will slip in... I had to laugh when I thought about 'Ginnie' and the bucket of water. I'm not sure who cried more as I read this tremendous timepiece of a memoir; me or Ginnie. Thanks Kathy.

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