This is the story of my life as a reader: When I was a child my father would instill "reading time" for my sister and I. Then he'd go off to church or meetings or something and my mother was left home to implement the required time of self-study. When you think of my father think of Barack Obama's mother...but a black man. He always wanted the best for us, always pushed us to succeed, especially academically. Although I was a rockstar student, the reading thing never really took. I found books boring and time consuming and I could be watching Looney Tunes instead!
Then there was high school: the land of required reading after required reading. It was pure hell. I hated all of the books. All of them. Ok, not all of them. I highly recommend Things Fall Apart, In Cold Blood, Crime and Punishment and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Those books are my jam. Did they turn me into an avid reader, though? Hell no.
Then there was college. I was a film major so I was ready for four years of pure visual stimulation which the least amount of reading possible for a non-math major.
Then it happened.
My sister changed my life and didn't even realize what the hell she was doing. She had a crush on a boy who's mother was a writer. So, in order to impress said boy, she bought one of his mother's books and got to reading! Luckily for her, this woman was a romance writer and her book was gooooooooooooooooooood. Luckily for ME, this woman had the same name as me, Marissa.
This prompted my sister to say, "Hey, Marissa, read this book! It's really good and the author has the same name as you! Hurray!" My response, "Ugh, books." Her response, "It's really steamy and she even writes about...you know, with, you know...detail." My response, "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?!" I was eighteen years old and I knew romance novels were a thing in the world, I grew up with a Danielle Steel fan for a mother, but still, they were books and most of the times they were thick as hell so I'd never really required further. Plus I was eighteen, I was busy doin' my own romancing. Hey-oh! Ok, there was nothing romantic about that time. Remind me to write about the time a guy invited me to his dorm to watch movies...on his laptop on his bed...that had no sheets. Nevermind, I don't want to relive it.
ANYWAY. I took my sisters suggestion and read my first romance novel, Hot Boyz. Now if that doesn't scream Black People section of the bookstore, I don't know what does. That book I read in three days. Then IT.WAS.ON. I hit up my nearest bookstore and frantically searched for the actual Black People section that they politically correctly called "African American Literature".
I quickly came to find out that most of these Negroes loved to write about some bowchickawowwow. Girlfriend, Honey Chillllle, I felt like Columbus finding the New World (ew, gross, terrible analogy). Ok, I felt like Moses leading the people into the Promise Land (but wait, he never made it to the promise land. I think Joshua led them in). Anyway, you get the idea!!!! I felt like Michelle when she found Barack. Boom, okay that works. Phew! It was a magical experience. I bought five books based on back-cover synopses and went to town.
Of those five, two of them were penned by the one, the only, mutha fuckin ERIC JEROME DICKEY. The first two of his books that I read were Friends and Lovers and Between Lovers.
Bitches, let me tell you!!!! When I say, this man changed my life, this man CHANGED MY LIFE!
Eric Jerome DIckey is life.
It was a good thing I was a rockstar student, even in college because I would ditch class just to finish a chapter, or two...or all of them. Friends and Lovers was the first and only book to ever make me cry. It sneaks up on you. It's light, it's funny, it's sexy, then next thing you know you're a ball of mush, rocking back and forth in the corner. Soooooooooooooooooo many emotions.
Between Lovers, look y'all, this book is the definition of when a man loves a woman. It taught me what love looks like before I was old enough to even truly understand. As a matter of fact, I should re-read that because lordy a refresher is in order.
In a matter of weeks, maybe months, I've always been a slow reader, my life was transformed. I promptly took my black ass back to the black section in the bookstore and bought all the other books he's penned. At this point I've read them all, Between Lovers might still be my favorite.
If you ever want to have a self-induced heart attack because why not? You must read The Other Woman. The next time you go home and your spouse has cleaned the house you will know to turn your ass around and go back to wherever it is you came from. This book had my jaw on the floor for weeks, usually while riding around on public transportation with strangers looking at me like I was nuts. IF ONLY THEY KNEW THE SHIT GOING ON IN THIS FICTITIOUS WORLD!!!! Lord, Jesus. I can't even.
Genvieve... a beautiful character study with one hellllll of a twist.
Pleasure... the title speaks for itself. All I can say is brace yourself... and your booty hole. So good.
And there's Gideon. Oh my Gideon. Dickey stretches himself and supersedes his already established brilliance. How does he do it? I don't fucking know, but he does it. And oh, does he do it well!
I'm currently in a novel writing class and the instructor was asking us about our favorite authors. I mentioned EJD clearly and she had no idea who he is. I'm strongly considering changing classes...maybe I'll just make her read all of his books. Do that bitch a favor.
Eric Jerome Dickey novels are what made me think...hmmmm, maybe I can do this, maybe I WANT to do this, maybe I SHOULD BE doing this shit!!! If I ever wrote anything half as touching, half as intelligent and enthralling and sexy or challenging as Mr. EJD, just take me out back and shoot me because I could officially die a happy and accomplished being.
Eric Jerome Dickey, I love you. I thank you.