Spotting a bargain and because well, it’s not in my nature to refuse free stuff, I DL Jay and Renee 2 and got to a reading. The first thing I realized was how it read almost like a stand-alone title . I was a little intrigued with how the writing would turn out, a white dude writing interracial novels and talking about black ‘sistuhs’ I was very excited to see how he handles his characters.
Set in the southern town of Roanoke Virginia, Murray presents us with an African American Mother, An Italian husband and a biracial son and daughter.
The story continues with the story of (Giovanni) Jay, Renee, their biracial daughter Janae Luchesi. It centers around the difficulties The family faces as an interracial couple in everyday situations. Janae Vanni Luchesi’s biggest problem is people trying to place her in a category of who they think she is based on her color. Janae is taught by her parents that her colour does not define who she is as a person. When ask what she is, she would reply, beautiful. Janae surely got a mouth on her, for a 10 year old kid which more than aptly portray the saying ‘I got it from my mama’.
Through their daily interactions the reader witness racial prejudices towards their union, a union that is defended spiritedly on a daily basis by the sassy, loudmouth Renee. Jay is quite the opposite of his wife. He is a pretty laid back guy (translation- pushover) who co-owns a pizzeria with his father. The book is centered around family and events.
I loved Renee on the onset thinking here is a bold, no nonsense African American queen who takes care of her home and family and doing great things. That perception soon change. After a while I find her to be incredible selfish, crass, uncouth and portraying every stereotype that you can think of about the bitter, angry black woman. Why did you ruin Renee for me JJ Murray? Or maybe, haven’t read part 1 she was already ruined and I am just finding this out.
This was a well written book in as much as, the characters were believable. This novel evoked a plethora of emotions. Its laugh out loud funny, cringed worthy at times and most of all invoke a feeling of sadness at times. Renee’s voice as the narrator was powerful, mature and thoughtful while Jay is the strong silent foundation that every women crave. I finished the story in a day as after a while of reading I was curious to find out, just where Murray was taking the characters. They dealt with real issues, they made mistakes, they love hard, they go through hardships but they pull through, together.
This is not a Mills and Boons sappy happy ending romance though so, do not go in with that expectation.