The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You
It is perhaps because I am visiting East Hollywood in Los Angeles that this book resonates so much with me. As I walk along the busy streets, there are young men lying on the sidewalk. I wait to see if they are breathing and look to the police who are busy hassling the bodega vendors. I see young beautiful mothers carrying their toddlers despite the extreme heat warnings. There are crackheads doing stripteases and lots of other people of note.
The setting for these stories, however, is New Orleans. The stories are about the people on the fringes of society who are just trying to survive as they are weighed down by crushing poverty. Of particular note is “Token.” The narrator of the story tells how it is to suffer in silence in a white world, sensitive to the nuances that his acceptance in that world is a razor’s edge. It is a brilliant story.
Some of the stories are in vernacular, which makes them difficult to read. All the stories are worthwhile, however, as the characters are brought painfully to life.
“Before I Let Go” tells the story of a woman who inherited her valuable house and property, only to find her neighborhood gentrified into an unrecognizable suburb. She had been talked into a mortgage and soon will face eviction. She struggles to dance between jobs, suffers indignities, and loses at love. Such is the life of those on the margins, who are wonderfully portrayed by this very able author.
|Author||Maurice Carlos Ruffin|
|Page Count||192 pages|
|Publisher||Random House Publishing Group|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|