On the surface, Anise seems to have it all: a successful career, a solid marriage, and good friends. However, when she applies for a promotion at work, she loses out to a white colleague who isn't qualified for the job. At the same time, she discovers that her husband is having an affair, and her best friend at work is keeping dangerous secrets. As plucky as she is determined, Anise discovers that she has the strength to deal with the heartbreak and in the end learns that what is worth having is worth the fight.
While this novel about workplace discrimination gets off to a promising start, it is ultimately disappointing. Anise is an African American MBA graduate working in the employee benefits division of a large manufacturing company just outside of Chicago. When a management recruiting position opens up, she applies for the promotion and is clearly the best candidate. However, the patently racist human resource department managers feel that Anise is best suited for a position in which she works more closely with factory workers, many of whom are also African American. When the job is given to a less qualified white woman who is having an affair with the boss, Anise fights back. At the same time she learns that her husband, a successful VP at a pharmaceutical company, is having an affair with a white woman. Despite the intriguing premise, Roby's novel has a tendency to explain characters' thoughts and motivations just after their dialog, which leads to an arduous listening experience. Although narrator Tracey Leigh offers a solid performance, this title is not recommended.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 29, 2004
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Excerpt from A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby
I drove my pearl white Lexus SUV into the subdivision and sighed with much confusion. I sighed because even though I was living "the good life," I wasn't all that happy. My marriage was more than shaky, my career was heading nowhere, and I spent most of my time wondering how everything went wrong. I even wondered why this solid-brick three-level dream house was no longer important to me and why now, it was merely a place to lay my head.
After pulling around the circle drive, just past the front door, I eased the gear in park and turned off the ignition. Then I stepped out onto the concrete, grabbed my handbag and briefcase, and pushed the door shut. It really was a gorgeous day, and now I wished I could spend the rest of the evening relaxing on the deck. But if I wanted to finish updating the new-hire handbook by next month, I knew I had to keep working on it at home for a couple of hours each night until then. But I didn't mind, because in human resources, overtime was very necessary.
I unlocked the front door and walked inside. I went through the two-story foyer, passed the sunken great room, and headed into the kitchen, where I set my belongings down on the double island and picked up today's mail. The central air was kicking with full force, and that of course meant that David had finally arrived home from one of his many weeklong business trips -- one that included this past weekend. He was a successful vice president at a Chicago pharmaceutical sales company, but somehow it was hard for me to believe that spending so much time away from home was truly necessary.
I dropped the stack of bills, magazines and clothing catalogs I've never ordered from back onto the island, went down the hallway and into our master bedroom suite. David was sitting in bed, leaning his back against two king-size pillows, watching something on television. But he looked at me almost immediately.
"Hey," I said as a peace offering, because we really hadn't spoken since arguing two nights ago.
"Hey, how's it going "
"I'm okay," I said, but couldn't help remembering how things used to be when he arrived home from his business trips. He'd call me twice each of the days he was gone, send me flowers without warning and would call me at work, letting me know that he was back at home waiting for me. But things always seem to have a way of changing. So have we as man and wife.