Monday, June 28, 2010
By Sheneska Jackson
Blessings is the name of a hair salon in Los Angeles. Its owner is Pat who was given the salon by her husband to take her mind off the fact that she in unable to conceive a child. The salon wasn't doing too well until Zuma showed up one day wanting a job. Zuma was an accomplished hair stylist who brought lots of new business to the salon. Also working at the salon was Faye, a single mother with a small son and a wayward teen daughter. Shortly after the story begins, Pat hires another person, Sandy, an ex-stripper and mother to two youngsters.
Both Pat and Zuma want the same thing, to have children of their own. They end up spending thousands of dollars on fertility doctors and, after giving up on that, on trying to adopt. Zuma has lots of men friends but no one she wants to raise a child with so she has saved up her money and is planning on getting pregnant via artificial insemination, something she is keeping a secret from the gals at the salon.
Meanwhile, Faye is having a really hard time with her kids, her young son is getting into fights and her teenage daughter, who is pregnant, has run away to be with her boyfriend. And Sandy turns out to be a psycho bitch who thinks nothing of leaving her preschool age son at home alone with his baby sister who is only a few months old. Her jealousy and rage eventually drive away the father of the two kids, leaving the children in her neglectful care.
This was an OK story. Of the four characters, Faye is the most likable, but is described as on overweight pig, stuffing her face with junk food. Pat seems like a mental case in her obsession with getting a child. Zuma is just plain mean and the least likable of the bunch. The oddest character of the group is Sandy, who starts out as quite sympathetic, sassy and brave, standing up to and facing down Zuma's hate and racism. But then we are told she is pathologically jealous and that she actually hates her two small children, slapping and pinching them, forgetting to feed them, leaving them home alone while she goes off to work. Gutsy and feisty at first, the Sandy character is then transformed into a monster and a villain. I guess I didn't warm up to the book because I didn't warm up to the characters, selfish, baby-crazed Pat, Zuma the hateful bigot, Faye the fat pig and Sandy the psycho bitch child abuser. So, although the story was pretty interesting, the characters just left me cold.