Good to the Last Drop
by Elissa Gabrielle
(Peace in the Storm Publishing)
5 of 5 Stars
There are three kinds of books. There is the book with a plot you can predict. Then there is the book where you can’t figure out the plot, but you end up shaking your head in disgust as the scenarios unfold. Finally, there is the book that is totally unpredictable yet is able to provide thoroughly amusing surprises. Elissa Gabrielle’s debut novel falls into the third category. Good to the Last Drop contains a world as strange as the secret lives we lead–all the way to the end.
Good to the Last Drop follows Amber through the first couple of months after her marriage to the love of her life Khalil Devereaux. Khalil cheated on Amber numerous times while they were in college. The fun stops when he meets up with the shameless Shayla McNeil. His involvement with the insatiable Shayla is both intense and inexcusable. His moments of infidelity result in a daughter, Lexis, and a mentally annihilated Amber.
Since that incident, Khalil is a man trying his best to live down the embarrassment of his indiscretions. The distance he keeps from Shayla makes her eternally bitter and perpetually available to Khalil’s sexual advances.This voracious vixen is the type that unknowingly lives up to the phrase “you can take the rat out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the rat”. That same distance makes Khalil a long-distance phone call father; one that Lexis couldn’t identify in a police line up if Khalil’s life depended on it.
Shawn is a college buddyÂ to both Amber and Khalil. He is really the glue to Khalil’s relationship with both Amber and Shayla. Shawn is the voice of reason when Khalil fails to guide himself. He was the shoulder to cry on when Amber was devastated by Khalil indiscretions. Shawn not only convinced Amber to take Khalil back; he stays in contact with Shayla and even visits Lexis on Khalil’s behalf.Â He finally finds the love of his life with Aaliyah, a beautiful model that has a mysterious past.
Gabrielle’s cast of characters are rounded out by Amber’s friends Keisha and Scott. Keisha is a close friend from Amber’s job at a convalescent home. She is a dark skinned bomb shell that works as hard as she kicks it. Scott is the flamboyant diva that has no shame in his game. He is classy in style and quick with the quips. Both friends subconsciously fight for Amber’s attention and time. When in each others presence, they shoot the dozens like nobody’s business.
Gabrielle’s writing style is multifarious. She can make her readers cry just as easy as she can elicit laughter. Sometimes she is able to get the reader to do both at the same time. For example, the scene where Amber visits Khalil’s mother for the first time since being married is classic. Written from Amber’s perspective, this scene was funny and touching at the same time. Amber’s dislike for Khalil’s mother only rivals in hilarity Amber’s apprehension towards Khalil’s fast-talking, crack head sister.
Gabrielle took a very interesting approach to telling the story of Amber Devereaux. Although Amber is the central character, each chapter is told through the perspective of the characters who are closest to Amber. Gabrielle was able to keep each character’s voice distinctive and true to their way of thinking regardless of character’s sexual orientation or gender.
Gabrielle’s characters and their situations will come alive in front of your eyes. The synergistic effect of letting each character tell their portion of Good to the Last Drop was very powerful. The characters’ individual stories gave Good to the Last Drop a totality that simply can not be achieved by the voice of Amber alone. With their stories combined, the characters of Good to the Last Drop created an intoxicating world of inhibitions, intimacies and ironic incidents.
Reviewed by Joey Pinkney
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