Friday, October 17, 2008

Book Review: Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice
Rating: 4.5

When I read the description of this novel in Essence, I knew it was a book I Had to read. In fact, I had hoped it would make the book club’s syllabus, but to no avail. However, it didn’t matter I was going to read this story anyway.

Shay Dixon is at crossroads in her life. She is in grad school and has reached a point where she can no longer do the work and she seems to be enveloped in veil of depression. With no job, and WWNSD (What Would Nina Simone Do?) moment, Shay calls her estranged mother and asks to stay with her for the semester she feels she needs to get back on track. Going to her mother is filled with despair because Shay’s issues with her mother are bone deep. She also will have to meet her little sister, Sunny. What meets Shay is a mother who is a recovering alcoholic who is so different from her childhood memories. Shay has to reconcile the two and in the meantime start to deal with own demons. With a cast of supporting characters, Shay learns to bury the past and live for the moment.

Carleen Brice has written a story that tells of a young girl’s pain and the ugliness of being a child of an alcoholic but she also shows the other side which is redemption. There were moments where I wanted to pop Shay for not recognizing some of us wish we had our mothers around to interact with, but I also knew her painful childhood had to be purged and when the climatic scene occurred I knew withholding such pain and anger could be toxic. The backdrop of the garden and references to orange mint and honey makes the story endearing as well as the well positioned Nina Simone and jazz songs gives a lasting quality to a book that will withstand for years to come. The characters were well-drawn, strong storyline and the pacing was wonderful. Emotional, honest and endearing are some of the adjectives to describe this novel. I like this sentence from the front cover: “Shay begins to realize that, like orange mint and honey, sometimes life tastes better when bitter is followed by sweet.” I highly recommend this story.



At 2:06 PM, Blogger Carleen Brice said...

Thanks for reading my book! Glad you liked it! Thanks especially for taking the time to post such a great review! (P.S. I've got sisterlocs too! :))

At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an amazing book!!!

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Cashana said...

Carleen - you are so welcome. Thank you for giving me something new w/substance to read. Yeah, you have SL!

Meikmeika, it is really good and well-written. Check it out!


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Disclosure: Just so we are all clear any opinions or thoughts made on this blog or site are my own. Comments and statements from third parties may or may not be the opinion of Cashana Musings. I do not get paid to write book reviews or reviews of products or services. All reviews are based solely off my opinion as Cashana of Cashana's Musings. While I may receive review copies of books and even products or services they in no way influence my writing. All items that were received by me for review are disclosed as such. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Currently, we do not do advertisements.