For the past two weeks, I've been reading Right Side Of The Wrong Bed by Frederick Smith. Initially, it's been a struggle since my departure from work to maintain my regular reading habits. Nevertheless, I managed to journey through this novel and came away with a greater appreciation for generational differences in a romantic relationship.
This novel is not a continuation of Down For Whatever, Smith’s first novel. Rather, we are introduced to Kenneth Kane, a successful thirty-something college administrator, who has a seemingly Cosby-perfect life with his firefighter boyfriend, DaVon. Unfortunately, as Chinua Achebe would say, "things fall apart" and Kenny finds himself hopelessly single and constantly barraged with child paternity suits courtesy of DaVon's fence hopping ways.
However, Jeremy Lopez slips into Kenny's life "as smoothly as the rum going into his second mojito." A twenty-one year old Daddy Yankee clone from East L.A. who has more issues than Erykah Badu's "bag lady." Eventually, Kenny attends wild parties and clubs with Jeremy and feels completely young at heart. Nonetheless, reality sets in and Kenny must make some serious decisions that could lead to even more unpleasant consequences. As the book's synopsis states, "will Kenny wake up feeling like he's on the right side of the wrong bed?"
Before I get into my review, I thoroughly enjoyed Down For Whatever and even recommended it to The Divo who read it while on vacation in L.A. last year. That's quite amazing because The Divo is all about having fun and yet the book captured his attention more than his vacation! Go figure! Anyway, I digress.
In Right Side Of The Wrong Bed, I found myself frustrated from the start due to two major issues. The first issue concerned "dangling statements" that Smith seeded from cover to cover. An example would read:
"'How you been?' DaVon said, half looking at me, half looking over my shoulder at the crowd around us. Needed to keep that wandering eye still, with his wife and kid at home, and countless others ..." (page 11)
It was probably just my anal-retentive personality when it came to that. I'm not a huge grammar fiend and I'm usually pretty laid back when it comes to fiction because the author is expressing him/herself in whatever way they see fit. Conversely, these sentences effortlessly continued the flow. In essence, Smith writes how an individual thinks so I give him props for the realism.
The other me-issue was the naivety of Kenny. While I was ecstatic to see an African-American SGL middle-class professional portrayed extremely well, I was also upset that he was getting caught up in some of Jeremy's schemes. However, a friend of mine pointed out, "that is precisely how the author wanted you to feel!" Again, kudos, Mr. Smith. Furthermore, the naivete upset me because I was recently seeing an eighteen year old and I related especially well to the questions and confusion that Kenny was experiencing. Consequently, I was perceiving myself in the mirror and as we all know, the truth is hardly flattering.
Okay, let's see, some other highlights. The storyline was simply delicious! However, I can't give anything away so read it and trust, you'll like! Momma Kane, whew, "Lawd have mercy!"
I need a minute here!
One more minute ...
Okay, I’m good!
I love Momma Kane! Did you all hear me? I LOVE HER! If this novel were a movie, I see Jennifer Lewis all up and through that role! Momma Kane was right on point!
Overall, the book was put together exceedingly well and was positively convincing. Smith definitely had me reading extra chapters even after my lunch break ended! Unfortunately, Smith's ending wasn't tremendously credible. It was profoundly rushed and could have been expounded upon for a few more chapters. The last chapter lacked closure and this conclusion was worse than the first novel’s denouement. Still, I’m hoping to read more books from Frederick Smith and I clearly see tremendous growth since his first novel! So check out Down For Whatever and Right Side Of The Wrong Bed and support this talented author!
This week, I began reading In Love With A Thug by Reginald L. Hall. I know one shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I had serious doubts even before I bought it. Nevertheless, I have a thug addiction (don't we all?) so I'm going to satiate my curiosity. I'll let you guys know in a week or two (free-time pending) what my thoughts are on Mr. Hall.