JoeyPinkney.com Book Revew
by Faydra D. Fields
5 of 5 Stars
The Pride, Faydra D. Fields’ debut novel, is unconventional in concept, yet impeccable in its approach to an interesting conundrum: a single Black man with ten children by four different women. Sounds like it’s going to be high in low-brow drama, right? Wrong!
Taking a scenario that could quite well be a train wreck befitting a full episode of the Jerry Springer Show, Fields takes The Pride in a decidedly literary direction. Instead of making a mockery of the situation, as is popular in today’s society, the author orchestrates a blended family which slowly becomes singular in purpose and remains varied in personalities and perspectives – like a real family.
pride – (noun) pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself; (noun) a group, especially of lions
Emanuel Portman loves all of his children and has a positive, respectable relationship with their mothers. He works hard, has flexible hours and spends as much time as possible doing what it takes to be in each of their lives. Emanuel has a very high social intelligence and compassion for the human condition, which powers his desire and ability to navigate the complexity of the attitudes and behaviors, especially with his children.
The story is lively for two distinct reasons: Fields’ writing style moves at a steady pace and there are plenty of characters at Fields’ disposal to flesh out the inner-workings of such an intriguing tale. The chapters can stand alone, but most are blended together. The end of one chapter usually dovetails right into the beginning of the next. And where it doesn’t, Fields’ jumps in continuity are well-played to keep you on your toes.
If the women in Emanuel’s life aren’t at his throat, or each other’s for that matter, what’s going on in The Pride? Simple answer: survival. With Emanuel’s help, Denise, Angela, Romina and Xavari are all trying to make ends meet and keep their kids on the right track.
Denise has been shunned by her father for not having an abortion the first time Emanuel got her pregnant, and having two more babies by him did not make her situation any better. Determined to make the best life she can provide for her three children, she works hard and takes no hand outs.
Angela is an Army vet that’s a little rough around the edges. Her main source of income is her military disability, but that can only stretch so far when dealing with three children. Romina struggles with dyslexia. It’s become an embarrassment as her children have grown beyond her intellectual capacity in terms of their school work. She has her own desires to make a better way for her children by getting a better job.
Xavari is the youngest mother. At 19, she has a two-year-old and one on the way. This college student is far from dumb, and has the intelligence and determination to make something of herself in life. The youngest is in charge, so to speak, and she manages to rally the mothers to form a model of cooperative economics.
Since each mother could use a little financial relief, Xavari’s proposition of a communal living arrangement makes more sense to the other three mothers than the current alternative. Also, the children are more than familiar with each other, since Emanuel makes a point of raising them and spending time with them individually and collectively regardless of children’s mother.
Fields gives you more than enough to ponder as you learn about what makes each character tick. I got a kick out of seeing how in tune Emanuel was with his different children. I also enjoyed the cohesive friendships the children formed regardless of whether or not their mothers were familiar with each other.
The world created by Fields is an enjoyable one. Emanuel is important but not omnipotent nor overbearing. Denise, Angela, Romina and Xavari are strong yet uniquely flawed. The children are lovable and through provoking. You won’t be disappointed with The Pride.