You won't immediately figure out who Mahogany Slade is and I won't ruin it for you. The person is a very important part of the book but then they are not. I love the name anyway really because of Effie Trinket but I digress. This story brings us back to 1992 which was the year our main character, Brad, is going to his first year in college. I love how I'm finding books about the college years since I just started to go. Brad is what you would call a geek. Well at least he looks that way to me with his clean unwrinkled khaki pants and nicely pressed shirt. I will come to love this about him.
He doesn't really know who he is and really do we know at this age? He considers himself a disappointment to his parents and thankfully they hardly appear because they have oh so mundane lives (I'm basing this on the way he describes them and how they talk to each other). You could kind of consider of him like his parents. It's the friend's he makes that are outrageously so unlike him that makes you think he's not.
He meets his first love on the first day of school. She just comes up to him and starts talking and vanishes just as fast. She will do that a lot which increasingly vexed me. Her name: Janet Tomalin. I initially liked her and thought that feeling would remain. She did have "white framed rhinestone-studded sunglasses" which instantly made me like her and don't ask me why. They hung out a lot but I really didn't hear his voice in the friendship. He was quickly friend zoned which when it happened I quickly wanted to pat him on the head and just shake my head and sigh. Still by this point I liked Janet. By the middle I realized what a mindless being she was. She was all me, me, me. And I was thinking how much she didn't deserve Brad. She had some issues as well. As far as first love goes Brad sure knew how to pick them.
"When I was a little girl, my grandmother would always tell me not to 'mess around with them boys.' I should have listened to her. I like being single, really I do; I'm just not very good at it. I can't live without the applause."
Like Janet there was another character that had a big personality and had a quite a lot of money to spend who he became friends with right away. I think that could never possibly happen especially since he's like who is and he winds up with these two crazy girls to be friends with him. Anyway Heather, this green haired fouled mouth girl, along with Andy, this philosophical and other foul mouthed guy, are the first real two friends he meets. Andy is a pretty much a jerk to women and I did not appreciate his antics. He is a pretty loyal friend so I will give him that.
Heather is the one I really want to talk about. I did not start out liking her so much but I ended up wanting to give her a great big hug because she is truly awesome. She and Andy warn Brad about Janet and she constantly bad mouths her. Eventually by the time I end up really disliking Janet I really like Heather. I don't know why I didn't completely like her in the beginning. I love girls with spunk. She is all fire and then you see her other side and that's where I want to go hug her.
This book mentioned a bunch of movies and songs some of which I intend on seeing and some songs I listened to and as you probably noticed there is a cassette tape on the cover so there had to be some music on here. Brad writes for a newspaper albeit not anyone thinks is very good but they like his reviews. He does ones on CD's and the movies. He and his friends or Janet go out and watch movies a lot. I wonder why the author decided to do that but I appreciate having a list of movies I have to watch now.
I thought this book was brilliant. Brad's narration was what made me really end up liking him even if for the majority of the book I felt he was in the shadows of his life. He never really changed but he did grow if that makes any sense. My only small complaint about this book was it was too long. How can it be too long!? It just felt like it. See? It's small especially since I really liked the book and others might think I am crazy. Robinson created a couple of complex characters and did so with great writing ability and I am being absolutely honest when I'm saying that this book was a really great read.
About the Author
Stephen Robinson graduated from the University of Georgia in 1996. He has lived in many places but feels at home somewhere else. He's written for newspapers and magazines. Mahogany Slade is his first work of fiction.
You can visit him at his website.
"Mahogany Slade," by Stephen Robinson, is about first love, that moment when your favorite songs suddenly make sense because they're now about someone else.
Post a note on the wall of the "Mahogany Slade" Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mahoganysladebook) telling us what song or movie will always remind you of your own Mahogany Slade... even if it's been years since you met.
The author will give a copy of "Mahogany Slade" to his 10 favorite posts.
Thanks to Sage for making this tour possible and putting me on it!