Book Review: Love Don’t Come Easy
Book Reviewed by Tiffany M. Davis
Boy looks for girl. Boy finds girl. Boy loses girl. Boy looks for another girl. J.T. Smith puts a fresh spin on an old formula in his highly entertaining debut novel, Love Don't Come Easy.
Javier "J.C." Collins is an overworked and underpaid social worker in Brooklyn, New York. He has no worries in his professional life other than monotony and irate clients. His personal life, however, leaves much to be desired. J.C.'s attempts to find true love (or at least a long-term booty call) are chronicled with humorous results, whether it is the well-meaning but bungled efforts of his friend/roommate, Tucker, to improve his social life, or his independent forays into the dating scene.
Despite the common pitfalls of the self-published writer (typos, grammatical errors and formatting issues), Smith succeeds in creating a joyful story. Love don't Come Easy is like a male version of Sex in the City without the shopping sprees, as the story also portrays Tucker's parallel attempts to not find a lasting relationship. The plot moves along effortlessly and is broken up with timely comic relief. Readers will particularly enjoy J.C.'S dating experiences with Keisha, especially a scene involving beer bottles. Smith's writing is reminiscent of Van Whitfield (author of Beeperless Remote, There's Something Wrong with Your Scale, and Guys and Suits) and Marcus Major (Good Peoples, 4 Guys and Trouble, A Man Most Worthy), and fans of these popular writers will surely enjoy Smith's work.
Readers will be glad to know that J.C. does meet the woman of his dreams. Their first encounter occurs in a jolting yet conventional manner and proceeds from there. One of the more enjoyable scenes takes place in the bar that is jointly owned by Javier and Tucker. This is where J.C. and his dream girl finally get a chance to start their romance.
The author also crafts memorable characters and it is pleasant to note that most of the characters are educated, upwardly mobile, successful black men and women. Tucker, for example, owns a lucrative barbecue joint. He and J.C. join forces to start a bar. Such characters are a joy to see and further elevate the plot. While J.C. is the protagonist, it is Tucker -- the roommate/best friend with questionable morals -- who steals each scene he's in. Tucker elicits sympathy because of his cold-blooded yet tender, ways. His complex character propels a plot that that is already moving at a steady pace. Smith carefully reveals bits and pieces of Tucker's character similar to how a stripper reveals body parts during a routine. J.C.'s ex-military father, and J.C.'s interesting dates Keisha and Marcia, also provides a colorful background to HIS quest for romance. These characters took on lives of their own. Smith should be commended for such a wealth of intriguing supporting characters.
Love Don't Come Easy is a lighthearted read, perfect for an evening alone or commuting. J.T. Smith's next novel will be eagerly awaited.