Black Cake (A Book Review)

The new novel, Black Cake, by Charmaine Wilkerson unfolded into a much more complexly woven book than I expected. It starts out with two estranged adult siblings, Benny & Byron, who come together to listen to an audio recording their mother Eleanor left for them after her death.

They haven’t been on speaking terms for years and they can’t wait to get through their mother’s funeral and get back to their lives. When their mother’s lawyer sits them down to listen, their mother reveals one hidden layer of her life after another, stunning Byron and Benny with what she tells them. And the secrets they discover about their mother’s life will change their own.

I loved reading about Eleanor, and her friend, Bunny, as they grew up on the island, and about their lives after they left. Eleanor is really the main character and such a rich, unexpected and beautiful person.

I honestly didn’t like Byron or Benny. Byron is 45 years old, but emotionally is like a 25 year old. And Benny is also immature and self-centered. I can’t imagine not answering my mother’s texts or voice messages for years and years, no matter what happened.

There was such a message of regret through the whole book, which to me said very clearly, “Don’t let this happen to your family!” Life is beautiful and brief. Forgive. Move forward. Let stuff go. Be kind. Love your people. You’ll never regret these actions when you’re at a family member’s funeral.

Read Black Cake, enjoy the story, and may you be encouraged toward love and good deeds.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, a Book Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog ad-free.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World of Whiteness is a book that white people need to read. Especially if you consider yourself a Christian. It’s important because we need to understand what it is like to live each day as a Black person in white organizations and institutions so that we can change our thoughts and behavior and evolve.

In her memoir, Austin Channing Brown shares her experience of growing up, going to school & to college, going to church, and working as a Black woman in a white world. I’ll admit to feeling tired just reading it because it was so difficult to read about how she has been treated. And as someone with Christian roots, I felt deeply ashamed and sickened to learn that this is how many white “Christians” treat Black people.

The author describes the mental and emotional labor involved in getting hired and working for white organizations that claim they want a diverse staff and are anti-racist but act the opposite; the daily micro-aggressions that she experiences; the strategies she sets up in order to protect herself; how the feelings of white co-workers must be catered to so they will always feel good around her. And on and on.

This is not a feel-good book. It’s an opportunity for white people like myself to listen to and learn more about the Black experience of living in the U.S. And as the author says, to not end with dialogue and mere conversation, but to act on what we learn.

“Reconciliation is the pursuit of the impossible — an upside-down world where those who are powerful have relinquished that power to the margins. It’s reimagining an entirely different way of being with one another. Reconciliation requires imagination. It requires looking beyond what is to what could be. It looks beyond intentions to real outcomes, real hurts, real histories. How just, how equitable can our efforts be? What would it take to enact reparations, to make all things right?” (p. 171 &172)

I highly recommend I’m Still Here I hope you’ll put it on your TBR and read it soon.


We Should All Be Millionaires, a Book Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog ad-free.

Rachel Rodgers (owner of Hello Seven) shares her own story of growing up poor, working hard through law school, to becoming a lawyer, and then her years of growing a seven figure business.

This is not a book on how to get rich quick. Rather, the author presents many mindsets and hangups that prevent us from building wealthy and then shows us how to change our thinking.

The author encourages us to have focus, to have boundaries and to follow through on our goals as business owners and entrepreneurs instead of caving to every family member and friend’s whim and request. It’s ok to say no. She addresses the division of labor in heterosexual households and how to have conversations with one’s partner on this subject.

There are practical chapters on how to price your work, how to find a “squad” or group of likeminded people who can encourage you to stay the course. And toward the end of the book, there is a $10,000 in 10 Days Challenge. I told you it’s audacious!

Did I mention that Rachel Rodgers is funny? No matter how serious the content about making money is, she will make you laugh throughout the book.

Personally, this book came my way at a time when I was in a business slump and the message really encouraged me and re-energized me to go after my entrepreneurial goals again. I even bought a copy for my daughter for her eighteenth birthday.

We Should All Be Millionaires is a book that most women need to read and I highly recommend it.