Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: The Old Man in the Club by Curtis Bunn

Author: Curtis Bunn

Title: The Old Man in the Club

Publisher: Strebor Books (June 17, 2014)

Pages: 304

ISBN-10: 1593095724

ISBN-13: 978-1593095727

 

Curtis Bunn is an essence #1bestselling author and founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African American readers and authors. This year, the conference was in Atlanta and while I did not get to attend; I did have the chance to visit the InterContinental Hotel where the event was held. I did not get to meet Bunn (who was in the other room hosting Terry McMillan) but I did get to speak to some people there, learn more about the conference and next year‘s festivities, which lead me to Bunn‘s website. A title like “The Old Man in the Club” made me laugh and after reading several pages of the first chapter from Amazon‘s Look Inside feature, I decided this would be my first Curtis Bunn read. I was not disappointed .

I loved the message of this book more than the story although the story is good too. It is easy to judge Elliott but that ties into the author’s message.

Elliott Thomas is a sixty-one-year-old man who hangs out at the club. Not only does he hang out at the club but he flirts with and dates young women. Elliot is also divorced and sees a therapist. He meets Tamara, a twenty-five-year-old and they begin dating. Tamara is also a friend of Elliot‘s twenty-something-year-old children. I like Elliot but I disagree with his lifestyle. Elliot was convicted of something he didn’t do and I felt the reason for that conviction and him dating young women just looks bad. I didn’t think his past justified his desires to pursue younger women by any means. A thirty-five-year-old difference is just too much. I also really dislike the way his children treat him. Elliot’s ex-wife Lucy is also holding onto something. I long suspected what her secret was and I was upset that she would allow Elliot to endure abuse from his children because of something that wasn’t his fault.

But Elliot is not just an old man in the club. The author did well to provide us with multiple layers of his life. He is more complex. He has a past, trauma, and triggers. Elliot was convicted of something he didn’t do and endured other life-changing things in his life.

There’s also a craft chapter at the end of the book where the author explained his inspiration for writing the book and why as well as a list of discussion questions. This was helpful and rather than taking away from the book, I think it was needed and nicely done.

Despite my feelings about the characters actions, they were fully developed and representative of real people. Their decisions did not take away from the book but made it more realistic. Things are not as they appear. The message is: We instantly assess a person‘s values, motives, and character without ever having sat down to get to know them. It makes you think about our perceptions and how we judge others with no knowledge of who they are or where they’ve been. Everyone has a story and well-written as it is, this is Elliot’s.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

 

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How to Know if You’re a Hater

Don’t laugh.  I am serious. Some of you don’t know.

Anytime you see someone doing something positive and your first thought is, “But…” This is a sign that your a hater. Now, people can hate for different reasons but if your FIRST thought is BUT, there is some hatred there. Let’s look at some examples.

An author gets over 100 reviews.

“But I know some of those fake though.”

How? How do you know their reviews are fake? Have you conducted your own private investigation of this? Have you interviewed the reviewers to find out? How do you know for sure that this author’s reviews are not authentic?

A man gets a promotion on his job.

“But they not even paying him enough.”

How do you know if what he makes is enough for him (not for you) and if it’s not? Have you spent a night at his home? Have you spoken with his family? How do you know what’s enough for his family size and circumstance?

An author makes the Amazon Best Sellers, USA Today or New York Times List.

“But that don’t mean nothing for real. Anyone can make the Best Sellers list.”

Really? Anyone? Are you sure? How do you know what this means to this author? Have you done the research to verify that this achievement means nothing? Can’t this author just have their moment?

An Author makes it to #1 on Amazon with a book priced at only 99cents.

“But yo book was $0.99 though so your “Best Seller Status” don’t mean nothing.”

Again, how do you know? There are a gazillion books out today for 99cents. If an author makes it to #1, how do you know they didn’t earn it? Surely, they had to do something different than the other million authors with sales going on around this time at the same price. Have you investigated this particular author’s niche? Did they show you their marketing strategy? Do you know for sure if they’re gaming the system (as some do which is like, weak) but did you check to see if they fit those who do? Did you meet for dinner to discuss this? Do you know their circle and level of influence? No? OK.

A woman just gave birth and can’t help but post pictures on social media.

“But you shouldn’t be posting pictures of your baby like that.”

Can this new mother have her moment? We know there are predators out there but her children are fully clothed and she’s not abusing them. I know we don’t praise this type of stuff in this world today but can we, for a moment, understand the significance of this achievement? After all, none of us were in the hospital with her when she gave birth and I am sure we would not want to share her pain. Can she at least have this moment?

A man and woman celebrate their anniversary.

“But I heard he was cheating on her tho.”

Let the record reflect that the key word is “heard”. Have you investigated this for certain? Do you actually know this man and woman or have you just heard rumors? How do you know if he’s cheating on her? Where’s your evidence and two-three people to verify? You don’t? OK.

My point is, when you see someone doing something good whether that’s a new promotion or they just had a baby or got married your first response should not be negative. If you shake your head in the negative at their success (and even if it isn’t actually success to you maybe it is to them) then you fall into the hater category. OK so that author is maybe doing it wrong, can’t you at least partake in their happiness for a moment? You can always message them privately to school them, can’t you? No, they’re not sitting on Oprah’s couch and they’re not really “doing it big” but they wrote  a book and they’re happy, is that not enough?

My point is, and I don’t care who you are, if your FIRST reaction is to shake your head in the negative when you see other people happy (because they don’t fit your definition of ‘doing it right’), you’re a hater and should probably cut it out.

Matt. 7:1-2

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

FYI: This scripture means that the same way you judge others is the same way you will be judged. If you are not compassionate on others, there will be no compassion for you when your time comes. Let’s treat others the way we would like to be treated.

No Whining Wednesday – Edit Your Life

Welcome back you Non-Whiners! Ya’ll know how we do this, if you’re new to this segment or this blog, please read the first post HERE. Our goal is not to whine, complain, or criticize on Wednesdays.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge
The No Whining Wednesday Badge

So far, we’ve pretty much covered complaining and whining but No Whining Wednesday also means no criticizing.

Criticize – indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.

One thing about this is that it’s easy to see the faults in others. Even in writing it is difficult to see your own errors (i.e. the need of editors). Sometimes we need to apply this to life in general, that is, edit your life. “Your” being the key word here.

Criticism is sneaky and can roll off the tongue so easily. It can be done in many ways and even more so today than before since technology conceals much and through emojis and semicolons people roll their eyes and smack their lips. Speaking negatively under their breath while they throw up a smiley face.

If we really thought about it, we’d probably discover that we spend most of our day criticizing others.  We criticize the woman taking too long in the grocery line in front of us. We criticize the woman whose pants are too tight or shirt that exposes her breasts. We turn our lips up at the homeless man or the drunkard stumbling down the street. In our own thoughts, we do more criticizing than we’d admit outwardly and let’s not talk about writing! There’s a load of judgment here. The truth is that we can often see the splinter in the eyes of others but not the plank in our own. While we are pointing fingers, we tend to be far worse than the people we’re judging.

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

– Dale Carnegie

When I was in High School, there was the perception that the person who was the loudest and the most critical was the toughest and they often became the most popular. This perception could not have been any further from the truth. The person who talks a lot knows nothing. Likewise, the person who is so quick to judge others is a fool. Be not mistaken, it takes a strong person to be kind, gentle and forgiving in a hateful world. Seeking vengeance and refusing to forgive is just as cocky and critical as condemning someone for what they wear.

Today, focus on editing your own life before you point out so much as a missing hair from someone else’s.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Lorraine Hansberry

Welcome back to another Writer’s Quote Wednesday Segment as hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading. I have to apologize in advance for not linking up as I usually do. I no longer have to apologize since attaching the link :). I am drafting this Tuesday night and scheduling it to reach your readers by midnight CST. I’ll be out and about and won’t have the time to link until later in the day. < You can like totally ignore this sentence now. I wrote it earlier but it no longer applies. Why don’t I just erase it you say? No, I don’t want to do that. Why? Because I don’t, what’s with all the questions tho?

Anywho, this week’s quote comes from Lorraine Hansberry:

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“When you start measuring somebody, measure him right…Make sure you done take into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got wherever he is.”

-Lorraine Hansberry

 

 

 

 

My husband and I have this saying we use when we’re joking with each other. This saying comes up usually during the times when we’re poking fun of the other or perceiving one another to be doing or saying something we were not doing or saying. If I assume for instance that he’s using the movie room to play Madden but he’s actually doing something else he’ll say, “Judge me righteously” and we’ll laugh for a good ten minutes about it. What the saying means is that if your going to judge me at all, do it right. If I’m going to assume he’s doing something then I better make sure it’s correct and vice verse. That’s what this quote made me think about as I was drafting it. Before you perceive me to be a certain way, be sure to take into account everything that lead me to be who I am. If I’m homeless for instance, make sure to consider how I got here before you laugh.

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