JoeyPinkney.com Book Review
A Whisper to a Scream
By Elissa Gabrielle
4 of 5 Stars
With A Whisper to a Scream, Elissa Gabrielle takes poetry, drama and romance and sculpts a phenomenal reading experience. Taking the boy-meets-girl template, Gabrielle infuses social issues like racial consciousness, domestic violence and interracial relationships to switch up the monotony that can be found in many romance novels on the market today. Each character is carefully placed in A Whisper to a Scream‘s wordscapes, making this novel progress as fluidly as a motion picture centered around two main characters on a collision course of love.
Quincy Hughes is a doctor by day and a regular dude by night. Quincy is White and grew up around many ethnicities in Jersey City, NJ area, including Black people. Therefore, he mingles with Black people and is not afraid to have a black woman for his girlfriend. As a matter of fact, he prefers it. Thick and powerful are two of the many qualities he finds attractive in Black women, and Quincy is not one bit ashamed of his preferences.
Queen Thomas is a formidable defence attorney, shielding Black men from the inequities of America’s justice system with a furious passion. Her connection to her Blackness and Black men causes her to keep Black men out of trouble at all costs – almost to a fault. Stripped of her loving mother at an early age, Queen lovingly clings to her father, Frank, as he longs for her mother, Bella.
The reader swings back and forth between Queen and Quincy chapter-by-chapter as they explore their lives past, present and future. Gabrielle uses this to great effect, building each characters’ history and the inevitable connection of sweet surrender. The volley sometimes allows a scene started by either Quincy or Queen shift perspective in the next chapter. There were a couple of points in A Whisper to a Scream that had me devastated by its conclusion only to be sucked right back into the fray as the next chapter started without skipping a beat.
Elissa Gabrielle is the master of natural dialogue and scenarios. She is able to portray her characters in a way that gives each person a unique feel. For example, Quincy is much more poetic and smitten than Queen. There are parts of A Whisper to a Scream that had me thinking I was reading a poetry collection rather than a novel. Some of Quincy’s narrations could make Casanova eat his heart out. Think the persistence and romanticism of Pepe Le Pew with the swagger of James Bond cologne. On the other hand, Queens approach to love was equally intense, yet less poetic in her descriptions. Plus, her loyalty to Black Love made her resistant to intimately loving a White man. These personality traits made it easier to relate to both Queen and Quincy.
Gabrielle’s use of supporting characters also gave this book a powerful energy. Big, Quincy’s best friend since childhood, provided both comic relief and insight. Although Quincy and Big constantly jabbed each other with racial slurs, it only served to highlight the true bond they shared. With Quincy being physically fit, well-spoken and serious and Big being comfortably overweight, straight from the hood and always in joke mode, they fit like yin and yang.
Paula, Queen’s best friend, is literally a pit bull in a skirt. Paula’s no-holds-barred attitude allowed her to stand in the gap when Queen’s insecurities get in the way of her making true progress. Whether telling Queen to let the law handle Queen’s ex-boyfriend and his abusive, sadistic ways or telling Queen to not let America’s racist society guide her ability to find true love in a White man, Paula’s presence makes an important impact on A Whisper to a Scream.
Gabrielle intertwines Quincy and Queen’s dichotomous experiences and lifestyles into a double-helix of DNA that makes A Whisper to a Scream a living instrument of social expression. As Quincy seeks to transition from booty calls to a wife, Queen seeks to leave her lover-turned-murderous-stalker and regain her sanity. As the death of Quincy’s patients in the emergency room causes him to desire to find his soul mate, the death of Queen’s ex-boyfriend’s lover tenaciously rips at her soul. Quincy desires a strong black woman to call his own, while Queen tries to keep Derrick from being yet another Black male statistic. When Quincy and Queen finally meet, two words: muy caliente!
Elissa Gabrielle’s A Whisper to a Scream is not without fault in terms of readability. Riddled with punctuation errors and inconsistencies, there are quite a few bumps in the road to A Whisper to a Scream‘s redemption. I also wished that the woman on the book’s over was a tad bit darker, not necessarily dark-skinned. This would better highlight the contrast between Queen and Quincy. Both the man and the woman on the book I read looked White at a glance. Even on a closer look, I didn’t get the “interracial” feel from them. However, this novel is so compelling and so gripping, the characters realistic and stirring, the issues so relevant and openly discussed, A Whisper to a Scream is easily recommendable.