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Replay: A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards: A Review

THE JOURNEY TO TRUTH IS OFTEN LONG AND OPAQUE.

Reviewed by Guy A. Sims

 

 

CFC New

The is the new cover for the U.S. market…it is “Yankee” tight!

Sometimes we have the pain of which we cease to feel…or perhaps refuse to feel. Jinx is a distant mother, mortician, an ex-wife, and responsible for her mother’s death. She’s a ball of pain, pressure, and questions which cannot be quelled by either isolation or destinationless running. For fourteen years she has held the guilt of jealousy, hatred, and loss until a familiar stranger knocks at her door.

 

 

A Cupboard Full of Coats, the maiden voyage novel of Yvvette Edwards (note the double Vs in her name…that’s how the sisters do it in London), is an intimate journey of unresolved pain, misunderstood understanding, restrained loss, and unresolved love. Drawn in close quarters, Edward’s protagonist, Jinx, has lived a life walled by her guilt of causing the death of her mother; manifesting her guilt through the disconnection of her son and estrangement with her husband. Edwards crafts an environment which gets more and more emotionally claustrophobic as Jinx’s life is illustrated as one confined to both the home and her memories.

The tension rises like a pot of boiling ox-tail stew with the sudden appearance of a long-time family friend, Lemon. Though with reluctance, she invites both him, memories, and truth to come sweeping into her self-made prison. Through the Caribbean delicacies prepared by Lemon, memories conjured by the wine, and unfolded mysteries disguised as casual conversation, Jinx is pushed down Memory Lane to a place of confrontation and truth. The journey is suspenseful, funny, painful, and sensual. Suspense is the ingredient which brings the final satisfaction to the reader’s intellectual palate. Issues of jealousy, abuse, abandonment, and desire fill the rooms of Jinx’s home with a cupboard full of coats as the conduit for what was and what could have been.

Edwards brings to her readers across the pond a snapshot of the unfamiliar Black life in London. She illustrates the confluence of American and Caribbean culture with an East End vibe. Her passion, humor, and exposition brings to readers an understanding of her world beyond the Hollywood and tabloid descriptions of London.

Yvvette Edwards has lived in London all her life. She grew up in Hackney and is of Montserratian-British origin. Yvvette continues to live in the East End and is married with three children.

Listen to Yvvette discuss her book right here.

Publisher: Amistad, 2012

Pages: 275

Click here to secure your copy of A Cupboard full of Coats

Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novellas, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.  He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the forthcoming Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation.  BCEPressworks.com

 

Mysterious Me: A Review

NO GREATER MYSTERY THAN THE EYES OF THE SOUL

Reviewed by Guy A. Sims

These dudes want to bring you down

They say hurtful things

To make you feel like a clown

Demeaning others to boost their self-esteem

Coward

Where are your balls?

                                                                       ~Words Can’t Break Me

 


The words and sentiment of poetess Nerrissa Jenkins flow like water over treacherous yet familiar terrain. Her collection, Mysterious Me (2014), moves and surrounds with strength, passion, thoughtfulness, and sensuality. Sometimes times the words invite you in to stroke your sensibilities. Other times they gang up on you to pummel mind into understanding the trials that exist in forgotten communities. There are poems lying bare on satiny blankets awaiting your arrival and with a simple stroke you’re captured. Mysterious Me also holds your hand as the lives of the everyday are illuminated into lives extraordinary. It is more than musings and reflections; it is an exploration of internal dimensions.

Mysterious Me is the first published work of native New Yorker Nerrissa Jenkins. This collection is a journey of expression, motivation, and inspiration. It is more than a catalogue of traditional topics but a collection of life experiences: love, tragedy, strength, sorrow, self-esteem, and selflessness. What is also unique about Nerrissa Jenkins’ work is her homage to the lives and achievements of people and places in her life circle.

Nerissa is not afraid to show the ugly sides of unhealthy relationships when that’s all you have. The poem Infliction is a cry of pain and regret:

The phone rang at 3 am

“Open the door”

He said

They were standing there him and her

I let them in

We did our thing

Her observations are kept ‘real’; checking the fake and the phony when presented.

He isn’t a thug

He walked around here with

His pants below his butt

He walked around pretending to be tough

But when he became cuffed

He was calling all of us

                                                   ~Hard Headed

 

Nerrissa also shares her high praise for unsung heroes and those who struggle everyday to simply make a way.

Cocolita has her days

Of course

She’s overworked

Lack of sleep

A caring mother

But

She’s DOPE

                                                 ~ Cocolita

 

The poetic style moves effortlessly from expressions of personal experience to the casual observed. Each section is composed of common themed stanzas which keeps the reader engaged; building a better understanding of the woman, the writer, the poet. The works speak to everyday life from the perspective of a mature, strong, cautious, caring, and straightforward woman. Mysterious Me is not to be rushed. It demands time for the words and meaning to take hold in the mind and spirit. Take your time and you will find out that Under every hood is a mysterious woman.

To secure your copy of Mysterious Me, visit http://www.iselfexpress.com

Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novella, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.  He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the forthcoming Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation.  BCEPressworks.com