Milk in My Coffee

Dickey, Eric Jerome. Milk in My Coffee. New York: New American Library, 1998.

Reason read: Cow Appreciation Day is tomorrow – 7/14/16. I kid you not.

The premise is Jordan and Kimberly are supposed to each take turns telling their side of their seemingly doomed romance. While I tagged this “chick lit” it isn’t. Not really. It’s the story of two people trying to overcome the color of their skin and their deep rooted opinions. I appreciated Jordan’s ingrained racism that spoke to a long standing tradition of passing prejudice through history. He continually referred to the South unapologetically, as if that’s just the way it will always be, like it or not. His perceptions of Kimberley as a white woman are generations old. There was more drama in this story expected but that didn’t take away from the story.

Milk in My Coffee is broken into four parts. The first eleven chapters are from Jordan Green’s point of view. Every chapter is titled “Jordan Greene” before it switches to Kimberley Chambers (for one chapter). Wouldn’t it have been simpler (and I would have preferred this) to have one giant section of Jordan Greene narrative?
This isn’t a huge deal, but Milk in My Coffee contains references that date the plot. I didn’t know Erica Kane or Nurse Rachid so I didn’t get the jokes referencing them. Luckily, I know Barney, Vanna White, and Eartha Kitt so they were not a great mystery.

Everyone knows I am nit picky when it comes to dialogue. I want the characters to talk to one another as if they really know each other and are authentic with one another. It bothers me when conversations don’t make sense. To be honest, that only happened once in Milk. Jordan asked what Kimberly was doing for the holidays. She explains about how holidays and her birthday bring her down. They then go off on a mini tangent about birthdays. After that, without missing a beat Jordan asks again about the holidays as if he never asked and she answers in a completely different way.

Dickey is full of cheesy analogies:

  • “More purple than Barney”
  • “More tracks than a Hot Wheels set”
  • “Like microwave popcorn”

Quote I liked (yes, there was only one), “I didn’t know her well enough to earn any heartbreak, but I felt it anyway” (p 14).

Author fact: Dickey’s bio reads like Superman: engineer, stand up comic, able to develop software, best selling author…

Book trivia: Milk in My Coffee is a best seller. Did I mention that?

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “African American: He Say” (p 12).



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