A powerful collection of novellas by four leading African-American women writers, each tackling the terror of domestic violence.
In Other People’s Skin, Tracy Price-Thompson and TaRessa Stovall, along with writers Elizabeth Atkins and Desiree Cooper, took on intra-racial prejudice. The second book in their successful Sister4Sister Empowerment Series once again offers hope and healing, this time from the nightmare of abuse.
In Desiree Cooper’s Breakin’ It Down, a highly successful talk show host, haunted by the abandonment and self-loathing she felt as a child, is shocked to find herself inflicting the same abuse she experienced on her seven-year-old daughter. Tracy Price-Thompson’s Brotherly Love goes deep into the disturbing relationship between a beautiful, accomplished teenage girl and the seemingly dutiful brother who raised her after their parents’ death. TaRessa Stovall’s Breakin’ Dishes reveals the turmoil behind the scenes of a picture-perfect marriage as an angry wife beats her cheating husband. And in Elizabeth Atkins’s The Wrong Side of Mr. Right, an outwardly beaming bride-to-be comes to terms with the inner turmoil brought on by her emotionally abusive fiancé. In all four novellas, redemption and hope appear when a pair of blue suede shoes enters each woman’s life, helping her to overcome her challenges and stop the cycle of abuse.
A raw, engaging, and enlightening collection from beginning to end, My Blue Suede Shoes is as informative as it is entertaining.
The titular footwear connects these overtly inspiring tales of African-American women recovering from domestic violence in the latest effort from Price-Thompson. Desiree Cooper's opener, "Breakin' It Down," features a pair of blue suede tennis shoes that help TV host "CC" Smart, a Norfolk, Va. single mom, face the consequences of putting her career over the needs of her daughter. In Price-Thompson's "Brotherly Love," a social worker gives a pair of slingbacks to an abused teen who has aborted her baby. Stilettos become a good luck charm for an Atlanta TV news anchor accused of trying to kill her husband and his pregnant girlfriend in Stovall's "Breakin' Dishes." And Elizabeth Atkins's "The Wrong Side of Mr. Right" hits a profound closing note when a pair of old Jamaican wedding slippers inspire a woman to face the reality of her abusive Prince Charming. The perfunctory prose of all involved disappoints, but their accumulated efforts and shared subjects matter makes for a moving collection.