for Sweet Love
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by R.L. Byrd
Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Llumina Press
ISBN 13: 978-1-60594-435-7
Product Dimensions: 5.5 X 8.5
Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter
Can a sista get some love? That's the question addressed in R.L. Byrd's new book "Looking for Sweet Love." The story takes place in Dallas, which boasts some amazing statistics for relationships according to one of the book's characters: number nine on the Best Cities for Singles list, number five on the Best Cities for African Americans list, and the absolute best city for couples. Tell that to the main character, Jessie, and the rest of her diva friends and they might just bitch slap you. Their relationships could hardly be described as the best of anything.
In "Looking for Sweet Love," Jessie and her friends agree to discuss everything about their relationships woes on a radio show known as the Love Forum. And man is there plenty to talk about. First there's Jessie whose past includes falling for a good-looking man with no money. Though her career appears to be skyrocketing, it is doing nothing for her love life. Then there's DeDe the singer whose relationship with a married man comes with a hefty price. Vanessa is the big girl of the bunch, and we all know that big girls need lovin' too; though finding it has been a challenge. Melissa and Pat seem to be in healthy relationships but everything ain't always what it seems. Don't forget Brit who always keeps it real. Finally, there's Darlene who is a little too quick to drop to her knees to please a man. That's a whole lot of women with a whole lot of problems within the confines of 306 pages. Dealing with their issues privately is more than enough. Do you honestly think they'll tell it all on the radio too? The answer may surprise you.
There are several things to love about this book. For starters, it's told in street-wise, no-holds-barred style that gives it an authentic feel. Byrd's writing will remind you a lot of Carl Weber's work. The setting within the studio of a radio station is clever and reads like a reality show with a banging soundtrack. The book touches on many relevant topics for blacks in various stages of their relationships, including the search for Mr. Right, the realities of adultery, and the consequences of having unprotected sex. But even in the midst of it all, Byrd never loses his sense of humor, which is laugh-out-loud funny.
On the downside, there are far too many characters in this book. It's enough to make your head spin. And with so many characters and so many issues to try to cram in this one book, a reader may lose focus on some of the more important storylines. Not to mention that many of the characters speak the same way. This makes it difficult to tell who is talking at times. These, however, are very minor flaws when it comes to the overall story.
"Looking for Sweet Love" is a pure delight to read with lots of
"Oh-no-she-didn't moments" that will have you busting a gut, nodding in
agreement, and saying Amen. Fans of shows like "Real Housewives of Atlanta"
and books such as "Waiting to Exhale," will love this page turner. If Byrd
keeps it up, he will have a long and bright future ahead of him.