Review: The End of the Line by Jim Power

end of the lineReviewed by Shelly

After reading the blurb for this, I was very excited to read the story. It’s not every day that I’m intrigued about an IR story and the topping on the cake is that this is a new to me author. Although this is a story about an African-American woman and a Caucasian man, racial diversity between these two people wasn’t the only theme of this story. Peter Elsworth is from the social elite while Latesha Thomas is not. She’s from the poor side, Beechwood. Beechwood is known as the end of the line which refers to the last stop on the Underground Railroad for those escaped runaway slaves that made it that far. So, it would make sense that the town of Beechwood is primarily African Americans, or at least the street that Latesha lives on.

Latesha is a 6th year student at the local university and in her last semester of getting her English degree. There’s not an explanation for the longevity of her time in undergrad but I can only assume it’s a lack of funds. That being said, I expected a bit of angst about money and how to get more. Peter’s already been through college – both undergrad and grad school in English, so that begins the common basis for their friendship. In spite of his background, Peter is a working man and is employed as an electrician so he does understands the value of a dollar and doesn’t live off the laurel or funds that his family has.

To supplement her lack of funds Latesha decides to advertise, via fliers on the college campus, a dating service and its ‘supercomputer’ abilities to match anyone. Peter is the only client she’s able to attract. A few things happen and they end up meeting and things happen from there.

This was an interesting approach to telling this story. The time frame is current which I could tell by the various culture references which I could relate to. Some of what held me back from falling in love with these characters was the dialogue – especially between Peter and Latesha. It was way too formal, to the point where I expected Peter to refer to Latesha as Miss Thomas and Latesha to refer to Peter as Mr. Elsworth.

I didn’t start liking Latesha until the last quarter of the story, I thought she was way too juvenile in her treatment of Peter. She was so wishy washy, pushing him away one minute and then pulling him back in, even I got pissed off. She’s 24 years old and in her last year of college; there’s no explanation for her to be that indecisive.

Latesha’s relationship with her father was one that I couldn’t understand. Forget that he’s recently had a work injury and is unable to do the kind of work that he used to do – what kind of a man lays down his principles and basically gives up on life and ‘allows’ his daughter to support him? And at the same time dictate to her who she can and can’t see. What made me even more disgruntled with Mr. Thomas was that I never understood why he felt the way he did about Peter other than he hated Peter solely based on the color of his skin. He kept talking about his ancestors and how they were stolen from Africa by the white man. I’m still scratching my head about why that would be Peter’s fault – but hey, what do I know?

To keep it fair, I have to talk about Peter’s mother. On the surface, it would be easy to categorize her with Latesha’s father but I don’t think so. Yes she didn’t want ‘a black’ to marry her son and that might even suggests that she’s a racist but again I don’t think so. Just because she’s not politically correct doesn’t make her bad. I think she’s like a lot like other high society parents – she wanted her son to marry one of their own. That’s not race related that’s about social class. Other than that I didn’t find her to be as big of an asshat as I found Latesha’s father.

I really liked Peter and I’m not sure he was deserving of Latesha but I did appreciate his stick-to-itiveness in his pursuit of her. He knew what he wanted and he just kept going back until he got the answer that he wanted. Not that he didn’t frustrate her because between her father telling her that she can’t date ‘whitey’ and her own insecurities, Latesha would give off mixed signals to Peter (and me) with the yes-no, yes-no dance. After a while, even faithful Peter just couldn’t deal with the ups and downs any more, but what I appreciate about him was his positive attitude.

There were some other characters who added a significant amount of conflict to the storyline which helped to break up the monotony and silliness of Latesha’s yes-no, yes-no, yes-no.

The chemistry between Latesha and Peter was there, but don’t expect anything other than kissing and holding hands; which didn’t happen until the last quarter.  Now even with all I just said, this is a good read and it will make you mad, sad and there might even be some laughter and tears squeezed in there for the full effect.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

The End of the Line
by Jim Power
Release Date: October 27, 2013
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing

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