Before reviewing Baby Girl, I have to confess that I learned something about myself in choosing to read it. Unlike the great majority of books that I read, its major appeal was due to the fact that I know the person whose life story intrigued and inspired Bette Lee Cosby to turn it into a captivating novel.
Crosby has written fourteen books. She is a USA Today bestselling author, a Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner, and the recipient of a total of twenty-six literary awards with a large following in the general reading public. Not exactly a novice. However, she was, admittedly, unknown to me. Why, because what I learned about myself is that I’ve been a snob about the books I usually read. I gravitate toward the classics and biographies of people whose lives have been innovative and who have changed the world in significant ways–from politics and world history to the arts.
My reading lists have been, I now know, rather limited. Not an admission of which I feel proud but one that promises to open an entire new world of authors to me. Authors such as Bette Lee Crosby. So, for that I have taken a personal oath to place my snobbery aside and not make the assumption that if an author is unknown to me or if the title sounds as though it’s a book for teen-agers or about gratuitous sex or a mystery thriller that would appeal only to truck drivers (another prejudice and another assumption), that it’s simply not for me.
Much to my surprise and delight Baby Girl was more than a worthy read. Crosby’s understanding and respect for her characters as well as the ease and honest style of her writing is thoroughly engaging. As any good story teller, she arouses the reader’s interest from the very first page and sustains it throughout. Her story is compelling and believable because each of us has probably known or been a Cheryl Ann, the young girl who is the main character, and who makes one bad choice after another, complicating her life and causing her great anguish at every turn during her teens and early adulthood.
Writing in the voice of Cheryl Ann, Crosby sets the stage for the unfolding of her story: “I discovered soon enough that there are forks in the road, places where the path splits off into two different directions and you’re forced to choose one way or the other. . .” Her conclusion, she tells us, is that after twenty years: “Those much wiser than me claim that no matter what pathway a person chooses, in time they will end up where they were intended to be. I have reached a point in my life where I believe this is true.” Whether or not we agree with Cheryl’s belief about her more or less happy ending to years of searching and self-denigration is not the point. With Crosby’s insight and talent for creating dialogue true to each character, she holds up a mirror to so many of us, women perhaps, in particular. There is drama throughout but, as in life, not all rough roads come to a dead end or have a tragic ending. In short, Baby Girl reflects what life is for most of us. Some have more obstacles than others but no life is without its challenges and choices that need to be made at times when we are resourceful as well as times when we are less so.
Her characters, not just Cheryl, are fully developed and in offering us minute details of how they dress and speak, and–most importantly–what’s inside their hearts as well as their homes, we get to know what drives them to be who they are and understand the choices that they make as only a good writer can help us to do.
A wonderful read. Highly recommended.
Publisher’s Synopsis of Baby Girl
Baby Girl is a mother’s story . . . It’s about falling in love, of losing yourself and finding yourself. It’s about the passion of young love, the happiness of true love and the perilous journey that carries you to a place where you can see the differences. You may shed a tear or two but in the end you’ll lean back and give a sigh of contentment because you’ll understand this is how life is, and we can make of it what we will. Baby Girl is Book4 in the Memory House Series.
BENT PINE PUBLISHING, Port Saint Lucie, FL