Dickey, Eric Jerome. Liar’s Game. Rockland, MA: Wheel Publishing, Inc., 2000.
Reason read: Read in recognition of Black History month being in February. Also, I needed a book for the Portland Public Reading challenge for the category of a book written in multiple perspectives.
Vincent Calvary Browne, Jr. is a Negro Black Man trying to date after divorce. His ex-wife cheated. Adding insult to injury, she left him taking their three year old daughter out of the country. Baggage, baggage, baggage. Dana Ann Smith is a single woman trying to land on her feet in Los Angeles after leaving heavy debts and an even heavier romance in New York. Baggage, baggage, baggage. When Vince and Dana meet they are immediately attracted to one another. They seem like the perfect fit. However, in an effort to present their best selves to one another they hide their secrets under a pile of lies and more lies. Sooner or later, those lies start to reveal themselves as the couple gets more and more involved and Dana’s ex arrives from New York. Can Dana see beyond Vince’s lie about never being married or having children? Can she respect him as a father with an ex-wife? Can Vince hear Dana over the warning bells about her debt? Can he trust she is truly over her rich and hunky ex? What makes Liar’s Game so much fun is the varying perspectives of the same story. As the saying goes, there are are always three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth. Dickey gives us all three.
A word of warning – the writing is a little dated. In today’s society, I don’t think many people would consider a cell phone a piece of technology for players.
I have to admit even though the sex scenes were a bit cliché it was refreshing to see a condom play a major role in the hot and heavy relationships. There is even a scene when the condom gets “lost.”
Simple but great lines to quote, “Hard living and bad loving ages a man” (p 2), “A smile is the shortest distance between two people” (p 6).
Author fact: Dickey died of cancer in January of this year. Sad.
Book trivia: I could see this as a movie or a daytime soap opera.
Nancy said: Pearl mentions Liar’s Game as another good example of fiction written by an African American male.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter “African American Fiction: He Say” (p 13).
July was a nutty month. Lots of music: Phish three times, Warren Haynes at Tanglewood, Dead and Company twice, and Coldplay. (August is only Pearl Jam and Mieka Pauley.) We made it up to Monhegan for a week and down to CT twice. And! And. And, I moved a lot of rocks (don’t ask). For the books it was:
- Milk in my Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey
- Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill
- Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (AB)
- The Last Battle by Ryan Cornelius
- Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
- 8:55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames
I think, once I got used to Dickey’s style, I grew to like Milk but my favorite by far was The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. Is it a movie? Because if it isn’t, it should be. I said that in the review as well.
Full disclosure: I had Lost Upland on my list as well. I simply ran out of time and couldn’t get to it. I’m okay with seven books for the month.
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).
July. Summertime. Lots of music (starting with you guessed it, Phish). Lots of running (hopefully all outdoors). Lots of travel, lots of play. Plenty of reading:
- Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey (in honor of National Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th. I kid you not.)
- Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (#3 – to continue the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day)
- The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (#3 – to continue the series started in June for D-Day)
- Cranford (AB) by Elizabeth Gaskell (in honor of Swan Upping. If you don’t know about this day, check it out. It’s fascinating. Or you can wait for my review when I’ll explain the practice.)
- Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam (in honor of Gardam’s birth month)
As an aside, I have read the last two Cotterills in a day each, so I know I need to add at least one or two more books to the list. I’m off to the great unknown for vacation so when I get back I’ll probably have to revisit this list.
Also, I should note that I won another Early Review book from LibraryThing, but since its not here yet I won’t promise to read it. 😉