Monday, October 1, 2007

Lisa's Review: White Lines

Jada left home at the age of sixteen, running from her own demons and the horrors of physical abuse inflicted by her mothers boyfriend. She partied hard, and life seemed good when she was with Born, the neighborhood kingpin whose name was synonymous with money, power, and respect. But all his love couldnt save her from a crack addiction. Jada goes from crack addict and prostitute to survivor and back again before she finds the strength to live for herself and come out on top. And her stormy romance with one of the fiercest hustlers on the streets makes White Lines one of the most unforgettable urban loves stories of the year.

From her highest highs, living the “good” life as the wife a drug lord, to her lowest lows, selling her body for drug money, reading Jada’s story often times left me dirty and pained. You can’t help but feel for her. Born lost his father to the same drug that ravages Jada and somehow begins supplying it to others. When Jada can’t resist temptation, he throws her out – hypocrite though you don't hate him too much for it – and they both have to lose and learn difficult lessons before they can find peace.

It took me a while to get through the first few chapters of this one. It begins slowly. It is tedious, exposition heavy, a little preachy and often repetitious. This one could have easily been a hundred pages shorter.

Ignoring all of that, once things got going, they got going. Some good books make you uncomfortable, truly uncomfortable by exposing hidden truths. White Lines does exactly that. Part love story but more of a gritty urban drama, Tracy Brown spins a tale that puts you in the middle of the crack epidemic that ravaged and still does New York City and countless other urban ghettos in the 80's and 90's. The narrative is so raw and real that I have no doubt that this story was born from experience. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed this one. I chuckled at the epilogue, which featured a hilarious wink and nod to a notorious radio DJ here in New York and I wanted a different pay-off for investing in the love story, but it's a real ending. I’d gladly take another trip with Ms. Brown, but it may a quite some time before I do so, because this was some tough stuff.

Final Take – 4/5

Also recommended – Sistah Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever


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