My Boo by Daaimah S. Poole
Released: December 4, 2017
Reviewed by Sheena
Note: My Boo was originally published in 2005 as part of the anthology Kiss the Year Goodbye
Favorite Quote: “Tonight I was one of those women, looking for someone to say hi to me. I had cracked a smile at a few guys…but I still believe a man should approach a woman. Plus, I’ve got a boyfriend… I wish I could be with him right now, but since I can’t I’m waiting for a good-looking brother to look my way and invite me to breakfast. Then, who knows?”
Why yes. Yes, that is my favorite quote from what is possibly the least romantic book I’ve ever read. That quote is my favorite because in it, what you see is precisely what you get. No pretense, no subterfuge. “My Boo” isn’t romance. It’s the exact opposite. There are a bunch of self indulgent, insincere narcissistic characters who do a bunch of arsehole crap to one another and expect decency and loyalty in return. Redemption, what’s that? No one is redeemed, everyone is exactly the same selfish jerk they were from cover to cover. HEA? Sure, if you root for heroines using and abusing the hero and both settling on their dysfunction for the sake of the loose promise of regular in-state sex. Did I mention that these characters treat each other horribly?
These characters treat one another horribly.
Gina is a hair stylist at a popular Philly salon and is roommates with her alleged BFF, Bianca (though from page one, she speaks and thinks poorly of Bianca’s rotating bed partners and can barely wait to kick her out of their home). Bianca and Gina party and bar hop in hopes of catching the attention of men who can entertain them, even though Gina is in a long term, long distance relationship with her boyfriend, Chris who lives in Washington, DC. She is unfulfilled, missing her man and filling the void with empty connections with local guys who catch her fancy. Things take a turn when Bianca regularly brings home, sexy, endowed with the prowess of a jungle cat, Khalil. In no time, things sour between the gal pal roommates (shocker). In no time, Khalil and Gina and move from furtive glances and saucy solicitations to full on forbidden fruit sex buddies.
Initially, Khalil represented everything Gina thought she was missing out on, which baffled me because he was never a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was always a buttnaked, fully fanged wolf.
“Why do you even bother with that dude? You don’t want him. He’s not treating you right. You want me.”
“Well, the only reason you want me is because I didn’t leave him yet,” I said, as I broke away from him.
“Why are you fighting it?” he asked.
“I’m not fighting anything, Khalil. Yes, we are sexually compatible, but what else do we have going on?”
“I make you smile and laugh,” he said, trying to make me laugh. But I didn’t smile at all.
“How long have we been seeing each other? If I wanted to drop you, I would have done it already. I know what you are scared of. You can’t take the pressure…
“It’s not that… Why me? Why do you want to pursue me. I mean, there are a lot of girls out there…”
“All right, I’m tired of playing games with you. When you get your shit together, get with me.” He left and I made sure the door was locked. Khalil had a lot of nerve.
Yes he did. He constantly flirted with other women and reminded Gina that she was not really his woman and that he could do whatever he wanted. He took her on a “romantic” trip to Vegas and then kissed other women and abandoned her in the hotel suite. He did everything to reinforce what a jackass he was and what an imbecile Gina was for dealing with him.
And I know you are thinking, well what about Chris, the cuckolded boyfriend in DC?
Chris was lame too. Which one do you ‘ship? A neanderthal, incapable of redemption or a pushover with poor communication skills who quite possibly last saw his balls in 1993? Neither!
Not only do I dislike love (and I use “love” ridiculously loosely, because Khalil doesn’t love anyone but himself) triangles, but I really loathe when the heroine is book-ended by two utterly lacking prospects. Chris was obviously meant to be the choice HEA and winner of Gina’s heart, but their union was a fractured mess built on the hollowest foundation. I couldn’t root for them if I tried with the most earnest effort imaginable.
“So who was that Gina?”
“A friend,” I said.
“A friend, huh? Why was he over your house?” he said suspiciously… You take a shower while your friends are over? I don’t know about you,” he mumbled.
Oh Chris…you know. You know!
Besides random and unnecessary subplots with the drama and goings on at Gina’s salon (first of all, Gina was wildly unprofessional, she cancelled way too many appointments for my liking), My Boo was empty and if you argue me down to my last breath, I’ll only concede that if this novel is indeed a “romance” it is so far down in the sub genres (think: TheyAreAllArseHolesWhoDontDeserveLove trope) that it doesn’t even matter.
I mean seriously, EVERY character was useless. There was not ONE solid character, they were all flaming hypocrites on one level or another without an ounce of growth. And this is coming from the girl who loves Alpha jerks- but if you are going to create a trash character, you have to make their absolution spectacular! The love declaration has to be strong and believable. Hell, even for a HFN, there has to be something to root for, someone to align with.
Romance is escapism, I didn’t want to escape to this world with these creeps one bit. They can all stay in their cesspool, crapping on each other from all sides and implode without me. By 40% I had truly given up on this book and rode out the last of it marveling at the author’s audacity. I didn’t even care that “My Boo” ended sloppily and abruptly with cold-to-her-very-soul Gina seemingly getting what she wanted in the end.
I guess I was supposed to be happy for Gina’s thin triumph, but since I spent the first 99% waiting for her to be killed off and hoping the real heroine would appear, bringing with her a decent prospect- I settled for just being happy it was over.
Did I mention that the primary and secondary characters were terrible?