Reading this book was almost like being home again. I mean, yes, it’s set in Atlanta and not the DC area, but all the black people in this book. Ah, I was just rolling around in blackness. Granted a bit more militant blackness than I usually rolled with back in the day, but a lot of blackness nonetheless. Yes, I miss that on occasion. It was nice to get right into it is what I’m saying.
Miss Iona may be one of my new favorite characters. She is so awesome. I love her. Love, love, love, love.
On the other hand, there is Wes, my new most hated character. I think he is worse than Dolores Umbridge. I mean, the hate I have for him is deep and abiding. The book mentions that he’s amoral more than once, and I think that’s pretty apt. He is the worst. THE WORST.
I hate him a lot is what I’m saying.
So, yes, anyway, I need to read more African-American fiction, obviously. That is the conclusion I’ve come to.
Oh, right, the book! So I think the beginning is slow, probably a little too slow. One of the benefits (and drawbacks) of listening to an audiobook is that they all seem kind of slow and my listening is kind of disjointed, so I can’t always tell if it’s slow because it’s slow or it’s slow because of how I’m listening to the book. But, no, the opening of the book is slow. It spends way too much time on Ida and how she doesn’t have a job but is going back to Atlanta because her dad has lost it blah blah blah Wes is the worst blah blah blah we get it. I was well over the 30% mark before Ida and Wes even got close to each other’s orbits. That is absurd. And Ida was mostly just walking around West End talking to people. Which…slice of life or whatever but come on.
However, once they both got into Atlanta, the plot and pace picked up considerably and I was hooked. I had to know what would happen. I was waiting for the bus, and my co-worker stopped and offered me a ride, and I almost declined because I wanted to be into the book. Also, I went from listening only during my bus commute to also listening in the car when I was doing errands. So, yeah. I was into it.
The ending, however, was disappointing. Sigh. Too rushed and rather preachy. Oh well.
I thought both narrators were pretty good. (This was my second Bahni Turpin in a row and not on purpose. However, that she was one of the narrators didn’t deter me from the book. Obviously.) However, I liked the way Turpin narrated men better than Willis narrated women. All of his women sounded the same, which may have been a deliberate choice, honestly. Wes is the kind of guy who probably thinks all women sound the same or would make all the women in his life sound the same. In contrast, Turpin’s Rev and Mr. Eddie (as well as some others) were all pretty distinctive.
Turpin’s Miss Iona is brilliant, of course, but Miss Iona >>>>>>>>>>>>>> everybody else in all ways, so it would’ve been pretty hard to make her terrible.
3.5 stars may be a bit high, but the stuff I liked, I really liked and the audiobook made it past commuter status, so.
Also, the book’s title comes from a song by Duke Ellington, and here is Ella Fitzgerald singing it. That’s worth at least a half-star, I think.