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Book Review Mondays

Book: Orange Mint and Honey

Author: Carleen Brice

Why I Chose This Book: It was a gift. My college roommate and I had a tradition where we would buy each other a book by a Black other on our birthday. She gave me this one for my 22nd birthday.

The Main Character: Shay Dixon

Some Other Characters: “Nina Simone”, Nona (mother), Stephanie (childhood friend), Oliver (boyfriend)

This is the story of a confused and depressed girl told from her point of view so we get to live the full experience of this chapter of her life. During this obscure chapter of her life, her grad school advisor forcefully suggests that she takes a break from school in order to relieve some stress, revise her financial situation and find out her purpose in life. Then a visit from her spiritual advisor, Nina Simone, suggests that she go home to visit a mother who’d abadoned her when she was a child, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother.

Shay goes home expecting to be transported in time to witness her mother still on her alcoholic induced cycle of child abandonment, except this time instead of herm, it would be her younger sister. But to her suprise, she finds the complete opposite. And instead of being comforted by the fact that her mother was capable of change, she’s filled with jealousy and confusion, not wanting anything to do with this “new” mother. Instead of confronting the issues between them she choose to ignore them and create a life outside of her mother’s new world even as she continues to live in her mother’s home. On this journey of self discovery, she meets up with people from both her past and present, all of whom indirectly teaches her some valuable lessons.

I enjoyed this book so much because the characters were so realistic. In many novels that involve a woman trying to come into her own, many times the author does not allow the character to stay true to herself, falling for and changing for the first guy that comes along. And when she did begin to transform into the person hidden beneath the stressed out grad student, it was done carefully, with time and grace. Now that is not to say there was no guy involved because there was. But the author allowed for Shay to stay more true to herself than to the relationship.

There are many other turns to Shay’s story with her relationship, her best friend and mother but to say more would be to really spoiled the novel and well, I’ve said enough. Just take a chance and read it for youself!

Favorite quotes:
When Shay’s mom was talking about a garden with an old lady: “In the corner, near the house, there looked to be a sea of blue mist spirea or peppermint, and I asked which it was. It was orange mint. ‘It takes over like a marauding army. I cut it back and cut it back and look at it,’ she said….’Come back with a shovel and take as much as you want,” she told me. “But I warn you, you’ll never be able to control it.” “She was right. I planted the mint next to the shed and it has spread all the way over to the lilacs. But I like it. It’s my reminder that we’re not always in control.”

“Gaining an enemy reinforced how much I needed a friend.”

If you decide to give this book a try or know of other works by this author, feel free to stop by and tell me all about it!



2 Responses

  1. Hmm…interesting, it sounds like it may be a good book. On a scale of 1 to 5, how do you rate it?

  2. Hi demetra, thanks for stopping by.

    Mmmm I would give it a four. You know I am very critical when it comes to writing because I am a big fan of literary fiction. I wasn’t as lyrical as would have liked it to be, which most novels aren’t, but the character development was great. The author was able to keep each character true to themselves throughout the enitre novel, which is great since it was a novel full of women.

    Feel free to stop by next Monday for another review.


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