Book Review: A Woman’s Worth: A Novel (Strivers Row)
Publication Date: Mar 30, 2004
List Price: $21.95
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Imprint: One World/Ballantine
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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Book Reviewed by Thumper
I'm forewarning everyone, if...no, when I see Tracy Price-Thompson, whoever is closest to me, grab me, because I'm going to try my best to slap her. She did NOT tell me that her latest book, A Woman's Worth, was going to be this good! O maw God! A Woman's Worth is excellent! I read the book on a Sunday morning and afternoon, by evening; I was telling everybody I knew to read this book. A Woman's Worth is magnificent multidimensional novel that is easily, one of the best books of 2004! And the year just started!
Bishop Johnson, nicknamed Chicken, was raised surrounded by gambling and whores. His father Slim Willie Johnson ran a sporting house in Birdtown, Alabama with a strong, safe hand. He instilled in Bishop the knowledge of how to carry himself like a man and to have respect for women. An oxymoron I know, considering that Slim Willie was little more than a pimp. One evening, when Bishop was a teenager, the gambling house was robbed and his parents were killed. After killing the men who committed the crime and serving a stint in Juvenile, Bishop was sent to live with a scandalous uncle in Bull Run, Alabama. It was here where Bishop meets Malcolm Armstrong, who became his best friend and brother. Malcolm and Malcolm's grandparents give Bishop a home and a second family.
Through the years after many situations and experiences, Bishop is working in the Peace Corp in Kenya. He meets and falls in love with Abeni, the daughter of the chief of the Kinaksu tribe. Bishop and Abeni marry and have a daughter. Soon, Bishop finds himself on the run with his daughter to prevent the same tribal tradition of female circumcision that Abeni was subject to as a child from happening to their daughter.
A Woman's Worth is an awesome novel! I loved it! LOVED IT! A Woman's Worth is the type of book that, as I was reading it, if the phone rang, or if I had to use the bathroom, I got ticked off. The novel moves like it stole something and is packed with emotion, suspense, and humanity wrapped inside a compelling story of redemption and respect. A Woman's Worth is so smooth, cool, and creamy; I could have sucked it through a straw.
The plot and characters could not have been rendered any better than they are. Price-Thompson does a fine job developing her male lead characters, Bishop and Malcolm. Price-Thompson depiction of the different paths to manhood, Bishop and Malcolm took, was excellent. I have not read too many female authors capture the boy-to-man growth period well, but Price-Thompson nailed it.
In Bishop, Thompson created a complex character that is a real man and true friend. He is somebody I want to have my back when times get hard and sticky. Bishop is intelligent, strong, faithful, flawed and perfectly captivating. He held my attention even when he was not featured in the scene. Malcolm may not have been as fascinating as Bishop, but he is a top quality character.
Price-Thompson is not too shabby when creating her female characters either. Abeni is utterly fascinating. Abeni is a broken and tortured soul and have been since she under went the female circumcision. Abeni is a wholly multi dimensional character. Price-Thompson is batting a thousand with the development of her characters, even the minor ones.
The story is crafted in a form with alternating narrations, with Malcolm serving as narrator for the first half of the book and Abeni handling the narration duties for the second half. Price-Thompson breathes life into the novel with Abeni's narration. Not only does Price-Thompson bring another voice and tone to the story that is different from the one she established with Malcolm's section of the story, but their narrations enhances the development of Malcolm and Abeni's characters, and solidifies the beauty of Bishop's character. Any author with half the amount of Price-Thompson's skill could NOT have pulled this form of narration off.
Price-Thompson gets better and better with every new book she writes. Not that she was bad from the beginning, quite the contrary. Black Coffee, the first Price-Thompson book I read, was off the hook. Chocolate Sangria, her second published novel was da bomb. And with A Woman's Worth, Price-Thompson raises the bar to another level. She is evolving into an author of depth and skill, possessing the tongue of a natural born storyteller.