Eleven-year-old Faith Freeman has a secret: She saw her stepfather molesting her twin sister, Hope. This unspoken truth clouds family relations for almost twenty years, until Faith decides she's had enough heavy weather. As if juggling her career as a New York literary agent, a loving relationship with her boyfriend, Henry, and the care of her aging (and agitated) mother weren't enough, Faith takes on the burden of her twin's wounded psyche. So damaged was Hope at the hands of incestuous "Papa" that the crackhouses of Harlem and prostitution on the boulevards of Queens beckon as an escape from an all-too-painful reality.
Just when Hope seems on the verge of turning herself around, she enacts a betrayal so unforgivable that the sisterly bond she so desperately -- yet secretly -- desires may be severed forever. With her whole family watching, Faith must call upon her gifts of language, compassion, and understanding to save her sister and herself.
For anyone who has ever chosen between speaking up and backing down, I'm Telling is the story of one family's darkest hour that lights the way toward love and redemption.
Incest, drug addiction, publishing intrigue and a lesbian wedding are just a few of the outrageous plot elements juggled in Miller's second novel, a disjointed and often lurid story about the ups and downs of a young black woman whose family has a major flair for histrionics. Faith Freeman is the 30-ish protagonist who has a great life with her boyfriend, a former coke dealer turned investment banker named Henry Prince, as well as a budding career as a New York literary agent with a brainy, lesbian business partner. But the cross she bears is her troubled family, most notably her twin sister, Hope, a crack whore who was molested at 10 by their stepfather and then went on to sleep with her mother's subsequent men. Miller (Satin Doll) creates a freewheeling cast of flawed characters, setting up a jarring stylistic juxtaposition between the lighthearted romantic scenes involving Faith and Henry, some similarly easygoing work sequences that portray cantankerous clients and landmark authors (including a thinly disguised Walter Mosley character) and the ongoing eruptions among Faith, Hope and their troubled mother, Irene. While she does manage to fit all the pieces together, many of the family scenes are planted firmly in Jerry Springer territory: Hope's severe emotional problems are too often presented in a titillating manner that borders on exploitation. But overall, it's certainly not boring.
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This book makes you feel filthy, and wrong and incredibly spiteful. But in a GOOD way. Must read.