Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Mr. Fix It by Crystal Hubbard
If reading a book is like eating a meal, then reading Mr. Fix It is like eating a gourmet meal. This is the first book that I have read by Ms. Hubbard, and I can tell you honestly, I was blown away at the skill of her writing. I have read few other books that gave me the impression that the author was a wordsmith. One example is Judith Ivory, who is not prolific, but beautifully writes historical romances. Language can be sparing and economical, or it can be flowery and showy. Mr. Fix It manages to be a happy composite of both. There is no overblown, florid prose in this book. But sentences tease the mind like the sweet smell of pink roses, or the explosion of flavor on the tongue when tasting a really good cheesecake.
I am a visual person, and each scene played vividly in my mind. Although Mr. Fix It is not written to intently describe every feature of the character's looks, you are given the details to form your own image of the characters in your mind. You know that Khela is pretty and has dimples that come out when she smiles. She is brown-skinned with peach undertones, and her body is toned from boxing practice. And we know that Carter is so beautiful that he could float by through life merely on his looks. Food is described with sensuous detail that tells me that Ms. Hubbard is definitely a foodie. And she writes of the best things in life with a knowledge that makes me think that either she has exquisite taste or is an expert researcher. I certainly learned a lot about many subjects as varied as the romance writing industry, architecture, gourmet food, and high fashion. Even though I felt very unsophisticated compared to Khela, it was refreshing and wonderfully destructive against stereotypes to have a Black female character in a book with such culture. And thankfully, Khela still manages to be a genuine, nice, and good person that you would love and admire, at the same time. Khela is a romance author, who would spend hours signing books or talking to fans. She also works very hard to write high quality romance books that are excellently researched, dispelling the stereotypes that romance novels are just trash. She understands how much they mean to people (and as someone who can firmly state that reading romance has gotten me through some awful times, this hits home personally with me). I can safely assure you that will definitely like Khela, if not love her as the heroine of this book. Carter is also likeable, but I would say that he turns out to be the more troubled counterpart in this romance. This is a twist because you go into the book expecting Khela to be more weighted down with issues and afraid to love.
I must tell you honestly as a writer, I felt mixed emotions as I read this book. I felt awe at Ms. Hubbard's writing skill and beauty. Also I felt despair at the thought that I could never write a book this delicious and written with such consummate skill. As an aspiring writer, I know that I am also encouraged to develop my craft and to be the best writer that I can to make minutes pass like seconds and hours like minutes like this book did when I read it.
As far as the interracial romance, by nature that is what this book entails. However, race is so not the issue in this book. I found it decidedly refreshing. Khela is a character whose insecurities in romance stem from being used in the past, not for fear of loving a White man. For Carter, being with Khela is the culmination of years of desire. It was love at first sight for him, even if he couldn't use the words in his mind. She is the woman he wants, for all that she is. If she happens to be Black, that is just part of who she is. His angst stems from the fear that he is not enough for her, or good enough for her. There is the conflict of loving someone who is famous, and all the drama that goes along with this. Also the fear of being wanted and used because of your success and material wealth. The first fear is Carter's, and the second is Khela's. They both have to overcome these fears to find happiness together. And race, simply does not matter. If you are the interracial romance fan who is mortally sick of the "I can't date a White man" song and dance that is far too common in this genre, I encourage you to read this book. It is like a breeze of fresh air tinged with newly blossomed flowers. I guarantee that this book will cleanse a jaded palate.
I thank you, Ms. Hubbard, for writing such a splendid book.