Title: Born this Way
Author: Tammy Ferebee
Publisher: Tammy Ferebee
Published: January 11, 2018
Young, Black, and gay, Joseph feels rejected by his father, the local pastor of the small, southern town in Tammy Ferebee’s novel Born This Way. Joseph struggles with his self-esteem and worth as he faces judgment from his community after being manipulated into a scandalous relationship with an older white man, Bruce.
Joseph’s father wants nothing to do with him, and his mother is silent, choosing to support her husband. While residing with his aunt, the boy feels alone and battles despair, and abandonment. In light of this, he explores Craigslist and comes across Bruce, a man who serves as both a lover and a father figure.
Bruce uses his cleverness to slither into Joseph’s mind by telling him how wonderful he is and how much he is cherished and adored. Above Joseph’s head, the recognizable red flags flitted about like kites. The boy’s naivete is evident as this superb manipulator and pervert woo him. Bruce is a 56-year-old white man with no business flirting with young Joseph, but the boy’s sense of abandonment from his own family is blinding. For Joseph, Bruce is his first boyfriend.
This is a sad story with heavy topics. For this, I appreciated the light Nikki, Joseph’s best friend, brought to the table. She gave him positive words he could use to boost his self-esteem, told him the truth without sugarcoating, and gave him a safe space to vent. Nikki also makes an appearance in Still Black and befriends Malachi.
Interested readers should read Born this Way before Still Black since it has a twist that is disclosed in this book’s ending.
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/ 5 stars
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