Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flip Side: Book review for "B-Sides and Remixes"

Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good love story. You can see this in my last post, hence my infatuation with Brown Sugar. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard a good relationship/perfect woman theory since Dre’s. “You know? The brown sugar, hella hella sexy but not a ho.” I guess Tyler Perry’s 80/20 rule would fall into that category, but I’ve got my hang-ups with that one. That’s another blog post.
I’ve got a new concept on the tip of my tongue. It’s called “B-Sides and Remixes.” Just in case you’re only hip to the mp3 and CD age, the B-side refers to the other side of a cassette tape or vinyl record. In the case of “B-Sides and Remixes”, a novel written by Ran Walker, it’s a metaphor for when the honeymoon period is over. This excerpt is spoken by supporting protagonist and smart-ass “J.”

(**Spoiler Alert**)

“...Women have their own dirt, too. Is that really her hair length? Are her breasts really that size? Is she really a fan of my favorite football team? Add to that the real stuff that women would rather keep locked away, and what you have is two people who claim to be getting to know each other without really getting to know each other. Know what I mean?...around that third month, we start to see the B-sides. This is the side that the deejays don’t play on the radio. This is the side that is not common knowledge, the side that you don't see from a woman when she passes you on the street or flirts with you at the club. This is the real person starting to come through. The question is whether that B-side is like ‘Ode to a Koala Bear,’ that forgettable B-side of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's ‘Say Say Say,’ or if the B- Side is an ‘Erotic City’ to Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ or a ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s ‘The Show’? In other words, do you like the other side of who she is, that part she doesn’t project to the world?

Add to that the remix component, since people are constantly evolving. Since no two people are static, when you get into a relationship, the relationship can't be static either. So the real question with any relationship is whether the two of you can grow together once you see who the other person really is.”

In this conversation, J schools the main protagonist Chauncey aka “Cool” on the eventualities of romance and all that’s cloud 9. “Cool”, the epitome of they-still-exist, is faced with the dilemma of choosing a bachelorette from an Essence-inspired-magazine Soul Sista, which started out as a way to bring attention to his partnership with best friend J. They own an underground music store named C&J’s Rare Grooves. Amidst all this, he toys with the flicker of an old flame who might be back to burn him, the ramblings of store employee Ray Ray and his sudden surge of notoriety. Tensions arise within each potential lady and Cool is faced with a conclusive surprise of emotion.

Walker’s novel takes on the form of the vinyl record. He entitles the initial chapters reminiscently: Side A. During the most riveting almost-erotica of the novel, a description that will have any gal drooling on the edges of her Nook, he asks you to turn the record over. Damn.

This book is rare indeed. It sports lingo of the new and old age, the anxieties of history coming back to haunt you via social networking, and boasts underground artists like Foreign Exchange, Jesse Boykins III & Eric Roberson.

Simply put, this isn’t urban fiction. It’s no grab-it-on-the-corner unedited literary fix. It’s a mix of SOB’s Sol Village, your parent’s music, metropolis and culturally aware adoration.

Catch you on the B-Side.

Purchase HERE.



Ran Walker said...

I'm very flattered by this review. It truly made my day!

Anonymous said...

A book posing as vinyl. Very interesting....I'll have to check it owt.

Little Miss Knobody said...

Yo, I need this book yesterday!! Seriously, it sounds like something I'm going to LOVE! "The B-Side" is the perfect metaphor for when the honeymoon is over. I'm so glad someone thought of this. Thanks Riva!