by Venise T. Berry
Format: Hardcover, 256pp.
Pub. Date: January 2002
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Reviewed by Thumper, AALBC.com
Another moment of truth, I didn't care for Venise Berry's new novel of the super-natural meets Jesus, Colored Sugar Water, at all. Although Colored Sugar Water had a few good and funny moments, a few comical moments does not transform itself into a good book.
The heroines of the novel is Lucy Merriweather, manager of a string of fitness centers, who can't commit to her boyfriend Spencer; and Adel Kelly, vice president of human resource for an oil company, who's marriage to Thad is on a weak bridge over troubled waters. One night while Lucy and Adel is having a sleep over, Lucy, on a whim, calls the Sexy Soul Psychic Hotline and speaks with Kuba, a male psychic. Thus, begins the journey of Lucy and Adel, Lucy coping with her indecisiveness concerning Spencer and growing attraction to Kuba, and Adel being unfulfilled in her career and her marriage weighed down with mistrust and doubt.
I wasn't pleased with Colored Sugar Water on a couple of levels. One, Berry introduces the super-natural into the triangle storyline with Lucy, Kuba and Spencer that falls flat. I didn't buy it. Lucy's grandmother practiced spells and such. Kuba states throughout the novel that he and Lucy was meant to be together but doesn't elaborate why. Maybe it's me; maybe I'm the tainted one. I practically grew up reading Stephen King and Anne Rice novels. With African-American literature growing and emerging in genres that isn't associated with African-American books or authors, I've read novels by Tananarive Due and Stephen Barnes, to name a few. Colored Sugar Water isn't my first time traveling this road. Colored Sugar Water lacked the creativity, sharp details, and life that are essential in successfully writing this type of story.
What further threw me off about the novel was Berry adding the Adel storyline as an inspirational story, not a good combination. The conclusion of Adel’s story line was too sweet, too good, too quick, to be true. For the life of me, I can't figure out why all of a sudden Thad stopped with the unexplained absences, started going to church, became a trusting husband, all in the span of a paragraph. I was left with a ’did I miss something?’ feeling.
Colored Sugar Water premise was an unlikely combination. The God on one hand, the devil on the other did not compliment the other. The storylines themselves wasn't as strong as they should have been. Colored Sugar Water was a major disappointment.