Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: Something Real

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Something Real

Author: J.J. Murray

Author's web page: http://www.johnjeffreymurray.com/id21.html

Publisher: Kensington

Date: 2002

Length: 337 pages

Quote: “Can't nothin' happen in Calhoun without someone knowing about it...Small minds, large mouths, houses too close together, too many folks fanning themselves on porches putting more hot air into the humid sky, and ain't nobody got cable.”

Something Real is a romantic comedy about a minister's ex-wife who “lost everything in the divorce...but weight, attitude and the fiendish desire to continue playing the organ every Sunday next to her scowling ex.” Half African-American and half Irish-American, Ruth loves to epater les bourgeois more deeply than she admits, which is her delightful problem with new flame Dewey. She has no real reason to have a problem with his being White (she's a natural redhead herself, although the jacket illustrator forgot that), and she loves his children, but does he really really enjoy confrontations?

As a novel it's a perfectly predictable romance...but Something Real is funny. Ruth's mean (and often dirty) mouth plus J.J. Murray's sense of humor are good for a chuckle on almost every page. If you want to preview it at a public library, don't be sitting there giggling in the reading room! At least take it home! There are other reasons why readers take romance novels home, and although I am too mature, or too spiritual, or too old, or something like that, I'd guess that Something Real would serve those purposes also. In any case you will need privacy to chuckle. If you're trying to practice abstinence, this might not be the book for you; it depends on how hard you have to try. If you have children of a certain age, you'll probably want to hide this book from them. It's pretty frank, by which I mean that Grandmother would've said "filthy," but not in a disgusting way.

While reading Something Real I tried to picture J.J. Murray. Usually it's possible to tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman, but in this case I was baffled. A Google check on the author's status explains everything. J.J. Murray is male (and White, and young) but his multiethnic fiction, which he's in the process of making into a genre, is vetted by a Black woman.

So this is a Fair Trade Book. As regular readers know, this means a secondhand book, of which I believe a clean copy is worth $5 per book plus $5 per package shipped, whose author is still living. If you buy it here (from salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.com) we'll send Murray or a charity of his choice $1. If you buy two copies, you send us $15, and we send Murray or his charity $2. If you buy three copies, you send us $25, because Something Real is one of those bulky new-style novels of which only two fit into a standard book-mailing package, and we send Murray or his charity $3.

And yes...of course, I'm still surprised that someone asked...this web site is interested in the more recent work of all authors whose older books have been offered as Fair Trade Books here. This web site still cherishes the dream that other writers will browse about here, discover each other's books, buy each other's books, and, upon buying anything here, earn the right to post a free advertorial for anything they might care to advertise. (The ideas of people who post advertorials, like the ideas of elected officials, are their own, and we'll publish anything they say that does not violate our overall site rules, which can be summarized as "Practice common decency while writing.") For those who've not noticed, at the end of each post on this web site are a few of what Google calls Labels. (Live Journal calls them Tags.) These are site-provided links you can use to open a batch of posts on the same topic, without reading all the irrelevant posts in between. Clicking on "book" should open a set of posts about books by both living and dead writers; clicking on "a fair trade book" should open a set of posts about books by living writers only. Either Label may be used to find something to buy if you want to post an advertorial. We enthusiastically recommend this course of action to all writers, and friends of writers, who want a free opportunity to market new books while they're still available in big-chain stores, from publishers, or from writers' private web sites.