Saturday, March 3, 2018

Links by Lisa Becker--A DNF Opinion Piece/Rant

I am a truth teller. I pride myself and my blog on it's honesty--even if some people perceive it as brutality--it might be in the tone of my voice or in the delivery--but my intention is to always be honest. 

There's a fear of honesty, in book blogging--at least for some people. You don't want to ruffle the wrong feathers--because the ARCS may stop coming--or all the peeps will bash you on Twitter--and you'll be forced to go into a perpetual hibernation. 

I, for one don't have that fear. Sticks and stones, folks. 

I say all that to say, that this review comes out of a place of vulnerability, honesty--and a mix of frustration and anger. 

This book was read (half read) quite some time ago--and I was so disturbed that I discussed it with practically anyone I spoke to. 

I mentioned half read because I couldn't stomach any more of it. 

I'm not a sensitive person--I let a lot of things roll of my back--probably more than I should. SOME THINGS DO NOT NEED TO BE IGNORED.

But, I digress. 

This review is happening, so here we go. 

This book was offered me to review by the author--and her intentions may very well be right. But the delivery is all wrong. 

This is your typical romance--girl hates guy--guy hates girl--they fall for each other--because she's secretly perfect--blah, blah, blah. 

That's not the issue. 

The issue was in it's presentation of black people. I AM NOT OBLIVIOUS. I know that my culture is known for walking and coloring outside of the lines in regards to lingo, and fashion. But, I honestly felt like this author perpetuated any and every stereotype she could fathom. 

Her transactions and actions of black people were everything I wanted US to step around.

Upon first meeting of the very first "black" character, the secretary Tamika. She's pure attitude, of the neck snapping and eye-rolling variety. She's rude to the main character right off the bat without having met her. She's described as large, mocha-colored with cold accessing eyes. 

And my eyes became cold and accessing in return. Do you have any idea how hard it is to convince the world that not every black woman--dark-skinned black woman has an attitude. Let me write you a book...

She also goes on to give her a "black name," and describes her nails as pretty much over the top. LOng and bedazzled. I was kind of irritated but I read on. 

She then goes on some frazzled chapters later to talk about the main character's work with her inner city youth writing program.

The kids are Daquan, Nashawn--and whatever stereotyped name can fit on the times new roman 12x12 page. (I'm guesstimating here.) All of the kids come from disenfranchised backgrounds, depravity and sadness. 

One kid who's dressed in a jersey down to his 11-year old ankles--tells the story of his absentee drug dealing father--and I am just completely done. 

Even the kids were hopeless--and I am so disturbed.

I really need you to hear me on this, words have the power to hurt and to uplift.

You can choose to utilize them for good or for bad--that is a conscious decision.

While I like to let a lot roll of my back--I couldn't in this instance let this slide. 


I cannot allow another non person of color to write and share this narrow-minded, and isolated narrative that this is all black people are. 

Loud mouth, attitude--having, depraved, uneducated--and in need of a savior.

Black people of color are painted with the same brush--and have been for some time--especially as of late in literature--and I'm tired of it. 

Open your eyes, do some research--educate yourselves. There's more pages left in the story.

I really need people to take that extra step to do differently. DO *claps* BETTER *claps again*

There are young black children--picking up these books--and I need them to see more than what's being shown here. 

Stop serving this dry, day old toast of a narrative--and make it your business--not to lie, but to be more open--minded, and less ignorant. 

It's 2018, Black Panther is about to make a billion dollars--and I consistently feel like I live in a world where masters and slavery still exist.

I'm weary, tired, and exhausted.

We are capable of doing better than this.

*PS* Feel free to read the book for yourself. I'm in no way shape or form telling you what to read--or how to read it. But I am as always telling you how I felt about it.

*PPS* Yes, I wrote the author to tell her how I felt, and I was not too pleased with her response--I'm not sharing it. Because I said what I said on the matter.

Judge for yourselves.

*PPPS* The parts of the story that I read in my honest opinion aside from every single thing else I felt was not too great. The love interest kept referencing the MC's past as the "unwanted," and it appears to me that he was none-too-quick to move on from that. It felt more like he felt sorry for her--and faulted himself for even slightly liking her. He himself seemed baffled by his feelings for her--based off his teen-aged opinions. The whole story could do better in my opinion, and I'm just saying. It would have probably gotten 2-3 stars if I had completed it. 

Feel free to meet my new signature--courtesy of the ever out-spoken, Nene Leakes.

Image result for i said what i said

Aforementioned book:


Goodreads link to the book:Links by Lisa Becker


  1. Thanks for bringing attention to this. I think so many white authors have good intentions to include POC in their books as an attempt to be diverse, but they are just completely clueless as to how to go about it. Unless they have close friends who are POC they probably only know the ridiculous stereotypes shown in the media and they unintentionally just repeat the same ones. I am guilty of exactly the same thing. When I was younger I started writing an urban fantasy with several African American characters but I was so ignorant of the culture it was unreal and it makes me cringe now. Some things that I thought were harmless-like describing 'chocolate' or 'coffee-coloured' skin, I now know are completely offensive and I'm glad that blog posts similar to this helped educate me about what is and is not acceptable. I (and white people in general) still have a lot to learn about cultural appropriation and harmful stereotypes but I'm glad that we are at least having these conversations. Thanks for being honest about this book.

    1. I really appreciate your honesty--and I doubly appreciate that you've taken responsibility as an author--and a human to do differently. It's so important--and I appreciate your feedback.

  2. I'm really glad you decided not to sweep this under the rug like other people may have done to, like you said, avoid ruffling feathers. I'm in a class in uni this semester called Perspectives in Popular Texts and we basically read #ownvoices books in YA and look at how people are represented in them. One thing that keeps coming up in both the class and that I keep seeing around the blogosphere is the concept of the Single Story. I watched a TedTalk a little while ago that talked about it and it's basically the stereotypes that are born based on a single story that people have been told all their lives about a certain group of people (it's called The Danger of a Single Story). It's honestly one of the most enlightening things I've ever seen because it made me realize how I'm been imposing my own expectations based on a single story on other people which is totally unacceptable. If people are only told one story about a group of people, those people aren't really people, but once there is more than one story, they're suddenly multi-faceted human beings. I'm also studying language and one thing that's been made quite clear is that your language doesn't come from your genetics, but rather your culture and your environment. A lot of people don't really think about this and it's so important to bring it to everyone's attention.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I always think it's a beautiful thing when you can actually listen to another side of the story--and actually learn from it. I think your professor hit the nail on the nose--and I think it's great that you're taking it as a true learning experience--and not brushing it off.

  3. This can be such a touchy subject to address with an author, but how will she learn if no one calls her on it? It's sad that in today's world black people are still portrayed with such stereotypes.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I definitely agree, but like you said--if no one says anything--how will she learn?

  4. Wow, I don’t even know what to say. I’m kind of speechless at the examples you gave. And good for you for bringing it to the author’s attention. Maybe she really was trying to include diversity (ahem) but the way she went about it... just NO. So yeah, she needs to know that. Because how diverse is it to include character after character who are nothing beyond their stereotypes? That’s not diversity, that’s lazy and short-sighted, and close-minded. Why couldn’t the secretary have been a friendly, professional woman named Michelle? Why take it there? I just don’t get it. I hadn’t heard of this book before now but I certainly won’t be picking it up.

  5. I was also appalled to say the least. There's so much room to do differently and people choose not to. We have to do better, or they can count me out!

  6. This sounds awful. I can totally see why you would be angry/frustrated. Good on you for taking it to the author's attention.

  7. Yep. I think that is why I've been seeing more nuance with people asking for diverse characters. We want more diverse AUTHORS to write diversity. You are not alone in wanting people to stop telling others who they are or who they should be in books. We get enough of that in life. Rant away! :)

  8. Oh wow, I don't even know what to say. Like you mentioned, it's 2018 and enough is enough! Good for you for not keeping quiet about this, to be honest I wouldn't read this book, because a) that cover 😶 and b) this sounds a lot like the Hashtag series? Even the guy's name is the same...

  9. I'm gonna get to the contents of the book soon - but I appreciate your brutual honesty. I have to remember it sometimes because when I get backlash from an author because they didn't like my review, it gets to me. But I am always honest and I need to stop feeling bad about sticking to that.

    Oh, and I cannot stand this terrible representation >.> As you went on to explain all the ways in which it stereotyped the first black character and then onto the children, I was like: no no NO. I can totally understand the DNF.