REVIEW/ HAIR CLUB BURNING

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Dori Owen, reviewer

Little did Mary Ann know, as she scrambled in the gravel of a suburban road after a badly timed fender bender, that she would be rescued by two black dudes who would forever change the course of her disenchanted suburban life.

Married to a “pink” milquetoast, Jair, who scammed her into putting $24,000 on a credit card for hair plugs to fill in his receding hair line–she inadvertently discovers he’s shagging his young assistant Carilee. His unoriginal discretions infuriate Mary Ann into a series of f-bomb paybacks including throwing him out, playing world class dirty tricks on Carilee–and my favorite–decapitating all of his decoy duck collection. But fate intervenes and her rescuers, who are actually East Harlem Bloods, show Mary Ann a new world and retribution of her asset hiding hubs beyond imagination and belief.

This is one of the funniest, most original books I have read in years. The combination of Jason Davis and Beth Wareham as co-authors brings together a rare insider view of the Harlem Bloods sett lifestyle blended with the country club set lifestyle of Westchester, NY. The book is full of fascinating characters from central casting including hair transplant Dr. Bahdoon Bahdoon Samatar, Rachel Rosenthalerheim, Mary Ann’s revenge-loving Jewish lawyer, and a high ranking gang banker who rules from his Paris crib.

Full of twists, turns, laughs, and the joy of divine retribution–including a surprise ending–this book needs to top your summer reading list.

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WRITE DIRTY, LADIES

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/Beth Warehamth.jpeg

I recently wrote a novel with my c0-author Jason Davis called Hair Club Burning. It is a mystery, a May-December (the woman is December) love story, a caper tale, and, most importantly, a microcosm of race, a dream, a flight of fancy of how black and white can live together, making each other stronger and whole.

Throughout the book, themes of love and lust, friendship and trust, acceptance and fear, betrayal and crime intertwine. White crime is hidden in the back rooms and shell companies – Panama Papers anyone?  – and black crime runs red in the streets. My grudging conclusion was that the OGs (Old Gangsters) were indeed living a more authentic life.  That authentic life was also going to kill them. The whites just danced with the notion of Club Fed.

What I was not prepared for, as an author, was the strange reaction to the three sex scenes between the young black protagonist and older white woman. I had to walk away from a lifetime friendship because of my old, once-beloved friend’s reaction to the interracial sex. (She’s a Texan but still, there is NO excuse.) Reviewers expressed an uncomfortable feeling in their reactions to this love affair and a call-in to a radio station actually asked me, “What does your husband think of you writing this book?”

Let me be clear: I will write about any subject I wish for as long as I am alive and able to write. The word FICTION applies to the work of women and my mind is allowed to wander anywhere in the Universe it pleases. I will write as a man; I will write as a woman. I will shape-shift and taunt and make as many think, as many feel uncomfortable, as long as I can. I will also pass along Joy and new ideas and thoughts on ecstatic ways to live. I am a free bitch baby (thanks, Lady GaGa) and I will write as one.

I’m a woman, a lady sometimes, and I write dirty.

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Ducks to Donuts. This One is a Winner

 

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Review of Hair Club Burning

by Beth Wareham and Jason Davis

 

Review by C.A. Lawrence

Has there ever been a time when we haven’t identified with Mary Ann and wanted to drive off alone somewhere, the passenger seat filled with our favorite donuts, inhaling them without remorse? HAIR CLUB BURNING had me laughing and reflecting on when I have wanted revenge on those who have wronged me so deeply I would have stayed up all night to cut off the heads of wooden ducks, too.

There is more to this book though than donuts and ducks. Mary Ann’s characterization resonates as more than just a wife who has been ignored or taken for granted in her marriage. She is representative of so many women who have, in essence, not been allowed to express their feelings or emotions. They’ve had to set their identities aside for too long. And then there’s Jay, a man who has also been trapped into an expectation of what he is supposed to be. Anger simmers steadily underneath both of them.

This dynamic between the two of them, along with the comedic banter and scenes provides such a rich experience for the reader. HAIR CLUB BURNING would be such a great asset to book clubs in order to create opportunities for dialogue. Ultimately, all of us — regardless of race — are just one last nerve away from a dozen donuts and driving off somewhere to eat our feelings.

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