Wednesday, October 04, 2006



Doris Dixon reviews JIM & LOUELLA'S HOMEMADE HEART-FIX REMEDY by Bertice Berry (Doubleday, 2002):

From working with library customers, I know that some fans of contemporary African-American fiction are turned off by stories that seem too old-fashioned. Even if "old timey" novels make you snooze, please try Jim & Louella's Homemade Heart-Fix Remedy anyway. I love how this sweet, little book highlights the intelligence of everyday people without being condescending, preachy, or relying on stereotypes. I also like how it celebrates love and sex while condemning the hypocrisy and shaming behaviors that often inhibit lovemaking and one's sharing of love more generally.

After 26 years of marriage, Jim & Louella's lovemaking has grown stale. Louella is frustrated and anxious to restore her lover's confidence and vigor. She turns to her grandmother, mother, and aunt, all deceased, who share some startling advice through Louella's dreams. Their tips ignite a firecracker in the couple's marriage. Jim and Louella explore and communicate their sexual desires for the first time, trying new things and releasing old inhibitions. After three days of continuous loving, they emerge from their cocoon with a new ability to intuit the troubles of their friends and neighbors. Jim and Louella share their story of rekindled passion with these folks. These interventions bring unexpected joy and serenity into the lives of those who are open to trying the suggested changes.

If you like this book, you might enjoy J. California Cooper's collections of short stories (Wild Stars Seeking Midnight Suns is the most recent example) or You Know Better by Tina McElroy Ansa.

Doris Dixon, Raleigh Branch Library

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Ms. Dixon,
Wow what a coincidence! JIM & LOUELLA'S HOMEMADE HEART-FIX REMEDY is a book I purchased a couple of years ago at a library book sale in Ohio. It sat on my bookshelf unread until just recently. I'm not sure what finally made me pick it up and open it, but I'm so glad I did. Like you, I too thorougly enjoyed it.

Interestingly enough, I'm also in the process of finishing Tina McElroy Ana's YOU KNOW BETTER. Now that I know your literary taste is similar to my own, I'll keep an eye out for your list of recommendations. Thanks. Lori D.
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