Always True to You in My Own Fashion
Valerie Wilson Wesley
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Buy *Always True to You in My Own Fashion* online

Always True to You in My Own Fashion

Valerie Wilson Wesley
William Morrow & Co
320 pages
November 2002 (reissue)
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Young, beautiful, and successful; the three things most sought after in the world. Having all three highly prized attributes, Randall Hollis is applying them to the art world. Being an African-American has not slowed him down in the slightest. With wit and charm, he is determined to let nothing stop him from reaching his goals and it seems that nothing will. If only he had as much going for his personal life as he does for his professional, things would be great.

Randallís main personal problem involves women. His longtime friend and occasional bed partner dumps him the night he gets her pregnant. His once-a-week lover is demanding more of his time, as is his ill and domineering mother. The only ray of sunshine for Mr. Hollis comes in the form of a beautiful older woman. However, as older folks are wont to do, she brings along some baggage, in the guise of two failed marriages and a son who gives Randall the cold shoulder every time they meet.

Randall has to figure out who he is, what he wants out of life, and what type of woman he wants to share that life with -- not to mention dealing with the overwhelming emotions of becoming a father, losing his mother and the woman he loves all in the same year. Thatís a long row to hoe for anyone, but Randall does so with poise and strength, shedding his boyhood naÔvetť for manly wisdom and emerging better for it.

The writing in Always True To You in My Fashion is excellent. It has to be, with the mammoth task of tackling relationships as varied as father-daughter, mother-son, lover-lover, husband-wife and friend-friend, as well as chronicling the different stages of life that each character is going through: middle-aged and worrying about your children; being a child; being grown and having children. Each of these people must deal with the loves in their lives and the frustrations they have with these loves. Some take the wrong path and use drugs and alcohol to dull the pain and make them forget. Others (like Randall) use sex and business to keep themselves so busy they donít have time to think about their problems. Each character has a unique individuality. Not one of them has an ounce of cookie-cutter flavoring to them.

Always True To You in My Fashion has many layers and should be hailed as a modern day classic. Iíve read this book twice and both times came away feeling satisfied and thoughtful. The depth and complexity of the relationships bowls the reader over. Like all great books, it has an over all message for the intellectual reader: You have to be able to move on with your life in order to truly live your life. This is a simple but poignant theme reminiscent of another acclaimed modern day classic, Snow Falling on Cedars.

© 2002 by Kim Lightfoot for Curled Up With a Good Book

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