Title: A Long Time Comin’
Author: Robin W. Pearson
Major Themes: Family Relationships, History
Synopsis: A grandmother and granddaughter’s story—as they both work through their life disappointments and secrets, can they find healing together?
A Long Time Comin’ is the second book so far this year that I wouldn’t have read if not for one of the four or five reading challenges I’ve decided to take on for the year. And I think I would be amiss if I didn’t say that I would have missed a gem! This was a very gripping, yet challenging read—not all of it was the kind of thing I necessarily like to read about, but it was very realistic in the way it played out.
When Evelyn finds out that her husband almost had an affair, she struggles to figure out what she should do—forgive him, or push him away? That turns out to be only one of the troubles on her horizon, though, when she gets the sudden news that her grandmother is dying from leukemia. Since her grandmother is one of her closest friends and confidants, Evelyn is determined to do her best to help her to heal—but with secrets from the past weighing on and taking away from their time in the present, will they be able to sort things out before it’s too late?
This was a fascinating read for me because I haven’t read many books that feature African American characters. The unique cultural aspects felt very realistic, and I loved that—that part was definitely a highlight! I found the story very interesting, as well. Instead of feeling like I was working my way through the story, it hurried on past me, and though I was somewhat confused by the characters’ actions at times, the theme of learning to not bottle up the past but work though it was really good.
Some parts of the book weren’t as great as others; there were more mentions of the marriage bed than I was personally comfortable with. Though I understand why they were there, especially because of parts of the story, I didn’t enjoy that. I also didn’t enjoy the mentions of different body parts throughout the story, but perhaps that’s how some people talk.
I think my favorite part of this story was seeing the grandmother-granddaughter relationship. They understood each other fairly well, but they also had their own things they were struggling with—and with a lack of good communication brought about by heavy secrets, they had a lot of growing to do.
In all, though A Long Time Comin’ wasn’t my favorite book ever, I loved the fact that it was about a group of people I don’t often read about (it seems like, in my experience anyway, that most books are about white people—am I right, or just reading in the wrong circles?). It was also a good Christian book, although I wish that element had come through a bit more. This was more of a “live it out” book rather than theoretical, which I appreciated. Recommended if you like stories that showcase forgiveness and healing—those were two main themes to this story. This isn’t a book I’ll forget anytime soon!
I requested a free review copy of this book from the publisher, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: A wife is angry with her husband and pinches his fingers in ch. 2. A short story about a woman in labor and what it was like is told in ch. 3. A woman discovers her husband’s almost-affair in ch. 4. A woman is in an accident in ch. 7, and she is slightly injured, in the hospital, in ch. 8. In ch. 9, there is a somewhat vulgar expression used about birthing children. A woman wonders if her husband is committing an affair in ch. 9. A woman talks about how she was tempted to abort her baby in ch. 9. A woman talks about being in labor in ch. 9 and 11, and some description in ch. 22. A boy steals something in ch. 11, and again in ch. 12—in the same chapter, his shirt is ripped off of him when he tries to get away. Killing and raping are mentioned in ch. 12, and in ch. 13, a man talks briefly about a woman who wanted to kill him. A girl gets her ears pierced in ch. 15. A story of a boy who almost cut his finger off is told in ch. 17, and in the same chapter, a man comes in who was drinking. A bastard is talked about in ch. 18. A woman dies in ch. 25. A character is pregnant throughout the book.
There were some words used throughout the book that I don’t appreciate—“my Lord” or a variant (ch. 1, 13, and 17); “shoot” (ch. 2 and 23); “hades” or “hell” (ch. 3 and 13); “d—n” (ch. 5, 7, and 11); “gracious” (ch. 5 and 17); phrases that include “the devil” (ch. 7, 11, 12, and 13); “goodness (ch. 8, 18, and 22); “h—k” (ch. 9); and “oh man” (ch. 12). Pee is also mentioned in ch. 2. One common phrase or word used is “butt” or “sorry behind” or something similar, I noted instances in ch. 7, 9, 11, 16, 18, 19, 22, and 23.
One of the biggest things I didn’t appreciate is that marital relations is talked about frequently, the very worst (a little boy overhearing something he shouldn’t have) was ch. 14, but it’s also mentioned in ch. 4, 7, 13, 22, and 23. Women’s things are mentioned in ch. 7, 9, and 16. There is touching between married people in ch. 4 (pretty frequent) as well as ch. 23; married characters also kiss in ch. 21 and 25. Touching and kissing between unmarried people occurs in ch. 13, and in the same chapter, a woman references a girl’s attractive parts when talking about how she shouldn’t be advertising herself. An affair is mentioned in ch. 23.