Danika reviews Black Girl Love by Anondra Williams

blackgirllove

 

Black Girl Love is a collection of short stories and poems about, unsurprisingly, love between black women. Each story is very short, usually just a tiny snippet of a relationship. Sometimes they are love stories, sometimes they are erotica, sometimes break-up stories, and sometimes quite dark explorations of interactions between women. I liked the variety and the themes introduced, but personally I felt like there wasn’t enough time to get invested in each story, so there were few stories that I felt really invested in. I did enjoy one series of stories in which we got three different perspectives on the same story, partly because it allowed for more depth in that narrative.

There were a couple of moments that tripped me up, including the only mention of trans people being a narrator saying “transgender my ass” about her ex, as well as the only story that addresses mental health [spoiler, highlight to read] ending with the mentally ill person killing her ex[end spoiler]. There were also quite a few typos scattered throughout. Overall there were a lot of parts that intrigued me about this collection, but I didn’t feel like I could really dig into it. At the same time, I have to acknowledge as a white reader that this isn’t a book that was written for me, and I expect that other readers will get something different from it.

Maryam reviews Black Girl Love by Anondra Williams

 

I started to review another book for this month, but I put that book down and picked up Black Girl Love instead, and I’m glad that I did. Black Girl Love is a series of fictional vignettes punctuated by the occasional poem. The poetry sets the tone for the author’s style, and the short stories are so vibrant in their imagery that I had to double-check for the ‘this is a work of fiction’ disclaimer. From running into the exgirlfriend at the club to having your wife twist your locs, from being the obsessed stalker to being the woman caught in an abusive relationship, Ms. Williams tells it all with poetic grace and a strong voice. Even the stories that may be triggering to read were still wonderfully rendered.
The version of Black Girl Love that I read still needed to be heavily re-edited. Had Ms. Williams been any less skilled as an author, I may have stopped reading due to the amount of spelling errors. However, I was so interested in the stories she wove that I read on and overlooked them. It does need some editing love, complete with a liberal sprinkling of commas – I saw another Lesbrarian recently lament the lack of the Oxford comma in one of her reviews, and I share in that lament – but after an editor goes over it with a fine-tooth comb, Black Girl Love will be a really powerful, wonderful piece of work. I look forward to seeing more from Anondra Williams in the future.