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Friday, April 11, 2008

Review: Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want
by Rhonda Jackson Joseph

Cishawn and Tonzell both know what they want from life. Cishawn wants to be able to maintain her independence while pursuing the career of her heart. Tonzell wants to be able to grow his fledgling business without the distraction of a relationship. When the time is right, each wishes to find the perfect mate: for Cishawn, that would be a man who appreciates and supports her independence. Tonzell wants an old fashioned woman like his Granny to build his life with. The problem is, Cishawn's quest for independence serves as a blockade between her and potential mates. She cannot be what Tonzell needs her to be, and that is the needy, damsel in distress who is looking to be rescued. Can Tonzell accept not being the noble rescuer?

"Call It What You Want" by Rhonda Jackson Joseph features a very strong-minded and direct main character, Cishawn (Cee-Cee). The story is written in the first person, which in many novels makes the reader feel closer to, and even emphathize with the main character. In this case, not so much. Cishawn is abrupt and very frank. We hook up with her, just as she is climbing out of bed...from what seems a meaningless encounter.

Cishawn answered the booty call of a 'tight butt' without regard for the person attached. The romance has definitely gone out of the romance; in fact, we are told from the first that it was all about sex, with no romance. She candidly admits to casual sex, moments before complaining about finding it meaningless; and Jared, the big powerful man she so admired, seems beyond stupid. Cishawn seems far less than admirable, herself. The lack of morality, of even a concern for the value of another human's feelings, is very distressing. The matter-of-fact way this viewpoint is conveyed is disconcerting: as if everyone behaves this way.

Jared is not bright, and demands endless attention. Cishawn dumps him without regret. Yet, we soon find she is postively surrounded by demanding personalities, even her friend Deidre. The writer has an obvious gift in developing strong and diverse characters.

The story may catch your interest, because much as we might not like the main character, she has a powerful personality. She jumps from the pages, and, even if her outlook is outright alien, is intriguing. Ms. Joseph's abrupt style works to reinforce the main character's attittudes and outlook. Joseph brings this very strong and complex woman, utterly alive on these pages, and whether you like her or not, you'll keep reading.

Later, you'll find that determined independance might get in the way of a romance, and to your own surprise, you'll have your fingers crossed that Cishawn and the one man she finds as strong as she is, Tonzell, will hit it off. I have to say this is a fresh and original viewpoint and style.

Review by Snapdragon