And Then There Was Me by Sadeqa Johnson
On Memorial Day weekend in posh Spring Lake, NJ, Bea is vacationing with her husband Lonnie and their two children. A surrogate, she is hot, bothered, and very pregnant with Lonnie’s cousin Mena’s baby. But Bea is also secretly bulimic. No one knows her secret, especially not Lonnie.
Controlling husband Lonnie has recently plopped them into the middle to upper class suburb of Evergreen, New Jersey, which lacks the diversity that Bea, half African-American and half Dominican, craves. The demands of motherhood and fitting in to this new environment, while pretending not to know that her husband is cheating on her, again, is more than she can handle.
And Then There Was Me is the story of a woman who is stripped down to her lowest point and then has to turn inward to save herself from her own destructive behavior and find the will to press on.
For the first few pages I was thinking 'just get on with it, will you?” because the almost smug domesticity at the start of the book left me a bit bored. Then things started to ratchet up a notch with surprise after surprise being slowly unveiled. There was also a very good reason for the attention to domestic details - to show the contrast between the various aspects of Bea's life. There were several OMG moments, and some real surprises, but there were also long lulls (too long maybe?). My main gripe though is with the lack of closure at the end. I felt there was more story to be told and that everything seemed to more or less stop mid-chapter. It didn't feel like a natural ending point to me. I also had a bit of a problem with what I saw as a certain lack of growth in Bea's character development - she is a bit of a doormat and despite her strong stance on one front, she is unable to make that same stance with someone else, despite their long history (sorry for being so cryptic, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers here!). I felt she failed to grasp the depth of the betrayal.
About the Author
Sadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag is the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. She is a motivation speaker, inspirational blogger, wife and mother of three incredible children. Second House From the Corner is her second novel. For more visit: www.sadeqajohnson.net.