Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Orange, Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

I'm a huge fan of Jill Scott so when I heard she was doing another movie, it caught my attention immediately.  The movie she's in is called Sins of the Mother and it's a Lifetime movie based on the novel by Carleen Brice:  Orange, Mint and Honey.  Now, you all know how much I just hate watching the movie before reading the book so . . . I decided to borrow the book and read it.  And I just noticed that they are now streaming the whole movie live on the website so I can watch it! 

I know the bar has (recently) been set high by Eat, Pray, Love so forgive me if I'm not gushing.  And I do have to say I was wary since  this novel was an Essence magazine  book club selection.  But the novel is solid.  Nothing exciting.  No intense twists and turns.  No deep soul searching.  But it it an interesting if somewhat predictable read. 

The main character, Shay, has essentially raised herself since her mother was an alcoholic.  She struggles desperately in life to attain a sense of normalcy and security.  She finds it hard to trust people and because she has completely immersed herself in academia and work, goes reeling when these two things go awry (she loses her job and starts to do poorly in school and needs to take a break).  In the throes of a depression,  she receives a vision of the great Nina Simone who encourages her to move back to live with her mother.  Her mother has finally managed to kick the alcoholism although the reader can see that it is a daily struggle for her.  All the tensions and issues you would expect to arise by Shay moving back in with her mom, do.  But in the end, Shay is able to find healing and is able to forgive and move on.  We never know exactly what brought on the visions of Nina Simone but as Shay pulls herself to a good place, Nina stops showing up. 

The writing itself was solid.  Brice is a good writer but I'm not sure I'd be enticed to read another one of her books.  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, though.  

Currently I'm reading . . . wait for it . . . Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  It's like reading Sweet Valley High so needless to say, I'm not enthralled since I'm not 13.  Okay, maybe I'm being a bit harsh but this book was highly recommended to me by the hubby's homie's wife.  I mean, she was straight sweating this book--swearing up and down that this is the of the century.   I'm reading it wishing I were reading Fledgling.  I'll chalk it up to vastly different tastes.

So next up after Twilight, I'm looking to re-read Your Blues Ain't Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell.  I read this probably in my senior year of high school and I loved it.  I'm going to read it again, ten years later and see if I still love it.  I've got Temple of My Familiar (which I own) which I want to try to read again but I also want to go back to some classics like Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice--stuff I read and liked in school but wonder how it would go over now.  There's a thread I'm reading on Nappturality about books and there are just so many suggestions I can't keep up!  So I may have to just make a list. 


Anonymous said...

We have such similar tastes and I'm glad you gave a review of Twilight. I want to read it only because EVERYONE seems to be in it, including my students. But, um, Sweet Valley High was cool for middle school and I'm not interested in anything that's like that. You're right- Fledgling was EXCELLENT! I wish that was had a second book.

I'll check out Orange, Mint and Honey soon.

I went back and read Jane Eyre as an adult and actually loved it a log more than I did in middle school English. I haven't reread Temple of My Familiar since high school, but I remember it being really dense topic-wise, but satisfying. The pseudo-continuation Possessing the Secret of Joy was way too superficial for my tastes.. Kind of like Toni Morrison's Love and the latest Mercy.

Sorry for leaving a novella in your comments. I got super excited to see you mention books that I love.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I finally saw the movie Sins of the Mother. It wasn't bad. It was definitely a Lifetime movie though. What does that mean? I suppose I mean that it could have been a deeper movie but instead chose to keep the drama limited to the surface emotions. Still, it was enjoyable. I'd like to now read the book because I suspect it might fill in some of what I felt the movie lacked.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Fledgling is an excellent book. I definitely miss Octavia Butler.

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