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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

Review by Tavares S. Carney
Amazon Rating: 5

The Life and Times of Davidia Jones

Ernessa T. Carter’s debut, 32 Candles, is a coming-of-age story that begins in Glass, MS and takes readers on a journey leading to Los Angeles, CA. Readers begin this journey with Davidia Jones, the intelligent ugly duckling whose mother, Cora, is mean and abusive – the person who is also the reason Davidia does not use her voice.

While reading this story, I was particularly enthralled with Davidia’s strength in the face of adversity while in high school, staying focused on her grades and not caring about material things. The plot thickens as Davidia attempts to escape her past, her mom, and the cruel Farell sisters. She moves to L.A. and begins to use her voice. Things are not so cut and dry though. Davidia ends up a minor in the hands of an L.A. club owner, Nicky, and doesn’t let go of her obsession with James Farrell. Themes that stood out for me while reading this selection were childhood safety, incest, abuse, parental influence, fame/fortune, greed, and the potential psychological effects of the same. The author also touches on atonement, righting wrongs.

Ms. Carter does a fantastic job with character development and the pace of the story was on point. I really liked the “In Between Then and Now” chapter. I didn’t know Davie had it in her! I was happy with how things turned out, but sad the story ended. I will definitely read future offerings from Ms. Carter.

Review by Tavares S. Carney

For more on the author, please visit: Ernessa T. Carter

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