Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan
Sistah Girls, we are giving you some throwback reads, now even though these books came out some time ago the level of storytelling is still top shelf. A good story never gets old, in fact, I’d liken it to a fine wine–it gets better with time.
This will also make readers who’ve already read these books pick them up again to experience nostalgia or find new meaning in the story that wasn’t there the first time around.
There are so many books I’ve read ten years ago that I read now and it felt like I read two different books. The story was the same but I was different. And that’s what I love about books, you really never know what journey you will go on.
Our first throwback review is from the queen mother herself, Terry McMillian…
He was tall, dark as bittersweet chocolate, and impossibly gorgeous, with a woman-melting smile. She was pretty and independent, petite and not too skinny, just his type.
Franklin Swift was a sometimes-employed construction worker, not quite divorced daddy of two. Women confused his program so he was leaving them alone.
Zora Banks was a teacher, singer, and songwriter. Her musical career was just about to take off and she was taking a break from heartbreak. Then they met in a Brooklyn brownstone, and there could be no walking away.
Set in the 80s it can be a slap in the face to remember how much has changed. There were no cell phones to keep tabs on people or social media to do minute-by-minute check-ins.
Whenever I read throwback novels about love I find myself wondering how much technology has truly helped or hindered humans in the romance department. I’m sure there’s a study…
Anyway, Zora and Franklin meet when Zora moves into her brand-new apartment (which is also a brownstone). Instantly there’s a connection and just like that Zora’s resolve to focus on herself and her career flies out the window.
McMillan has already proven herself a master of storytelling via alternating perspectives as seen in Waiting to Exhale. Disappearing Acts is no exception. The reader gets to experience the highs, lows, and plateaus of a relationship from each of Zora and Franklin’s perspectives.
Franklin’s perspective can be an irritating read as he veers towards misogyny and self-pity. Later the reader is introduced to his sharp-tongued mother, browbeaten father, and struggling sister.
His homegoing feels like an attempt to provide depth and shed light on his deep-seated mommy issues. What is supposed to be an explanation for his actions falls short as his behavior becomes more egregious throughout the story. Mommy issues are not an excuse for putting off a divorce or chronic unemployment …but I digress.
Zora is optimistic and has a more relatable pov. That’s probably my feminine bias. She’s taken in by Franklin and seems eager to believe in him as she falls in love.
What initially feels like love leans toward naïveté and a refusal to see red flags. I would even go as far as to call her attraction shallow. During a sit down with one of her girlfriends, Zora tries to defend Franklin and list some of his positive attributes.
She doesn’t get very far, calling him nice, good-looking, and, “not on drugs.”
Not. on drugs.
Those are the pathetic qualities that she can list in her man. As the kids say BFFR.
There were a few times I wanted to yell through the pages 🗣 GIRL WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF but ultimately she doesn’t and ends up connected to Franklin in a life-changing way.
Both characters can leave the reader feeling frustrated and fed up which ultimately felt more honest than most love stories that end neatly.
Overall I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the most uplifting romance. It truly chronicles a blossoming relationship whose honeymoon phase is nipped in the bud by real-life problems.
It isn’t my favorite Terry McMillan story to date but it felt different from her middle-of-life female-driven narratives and I could appreciate that.
Sistah Girls, if you’ve read this book let me know your thoughts. And if this will be your first time reading this title, grab the book sis, read it, and let me know what you think.
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