26 October 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Substitute Me by Lori Tharps

Busy career woman hires sitter after deciding to go back to work. Sitter takes over house, possibly including husband. Blah blah blah. You’ve read/watched/heard this story 900 times before, haven’t you? Me too. I read this book only because it was one of my book club’s selections and went in not really expecting too much, to be honest.

Instead I was left with characters and a story that while they were a bit predictable, had incredible depth. The author wasn’t afraid to delve into everyone’s psyches and pull out the very best the story had to offer. Getting us there was and easy and enthralling read. I soaked it up really quickly.

The marriage relationship was interesting, the incredible love yet the wedge, the crack of light where problems reside. We all have them, don’t want? It’s what we do with that gap that matters. It made me think. A lot.

The only complaint I have is that it ended too abruptly, not easily, just too quickly. I suppose there wasn’t too many other places to go, but I just wanted a little more at the end.

Zora Anderson is a 30-year-old African American middle class, college educated woman, trained as a chef, looking for a job. As fate would have it, Kate and Craig, a married couple, aspiring professionals with a young child are looking for a nanny.

Zora seems perfect. She’s an enthusiastic caretaker, a competent house keeper, a great cook. And she wants the job, despite the fact that she won’t let her African American parents and brother know anything about this new career move. They expect much more from her than to use all that good education to do what so many Blacks have dreamed of not doing: working for White folks. Working as an au pair in Paris, France no less, was one thing, they could accept that. Being a servant to a couple not much older nor more educated, is yet another. Every adult character involved in this tangled web is hiding something: the husband is hiding his desire to turn a passion for comic books into a business from his wife, the wife is hiding her professional ambitions from her husband, the nanny is hiding her job from her family and maybe her motivations for staying on her job from herself.

Memorable characters, real-life tensions and concerns and the charming—in a hip kind of way—modern-day Park Slope, Fort Greene, Brooklyn setting make for an un-put-down-able read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2012: 25

One Response to “Substitute Me by Lori Tharps”

  1. Lori 11 November 2012 at 12:08 pm Permalink

    Hi Candy,
    I just discovered your review of my novel, Substitute Me. I’m so thrilled your book club selected it to read and I’m really happy you enjoyed it. I appreciate your honest review and for your dedication to promoting good books on your website. Thank you!

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