Bebe's By Golly Wow
Bebe’s by Golly Wow is the very hip, very now, very with-it tale of an African American woman’s search for love. If you can get past the relentless, sometimes overpowering slang and the alternating points of view in which the tale is told, there is a pleasant story to be read.
In this follow-up to Yolanda Joe’s first book, He Say, She Say, recent college graduate Beatrice Mae Thomas (Bebe for short) meets “steak-colored” fireman, Isaac Sizemore, at her graduation ceremony. Bebe is in her forties, works as a bank supervisor, and upon meeting Isaac, decides to end her self-imposed sabbatical on men.
Their first date is hilarious and nearly leads to disaster. Bebe has a showdown over the money-green dress she wants to buy, Isaac’s gambling pal L.A. has “borrowed” the $50 date money Isaac had, and in exchange, gives him two passes to the Scary Dance Club from Hell. To make matters worse, Bebe overhears Isaac talking to a woman on the phone and leaves before yet another man can stomp on her heart.
Did I say, “to make matters worse?” Maybe I spoke too soon.
The woman Isaac was talking to is none other than his thirteen-year-old daughter, Dashay, who is waiting for her mother, Alicia, to come home. Alicia, however, left to see the world three years ago, not caring about Isaac or Dash – but hope springs eternal in Dash’s young heart. She’s not about to have some new woman claim her father’s time or attention – not if she can help it. From being openly hostile to Bebe, to pouring hot sauce in her food, Dash tries to subvert her father’s budding relationship with Bebe every chance she gets.
Meanwhile, everyone’s got problems. Bebe’s friend, Sandy, is trying to deal with the white male consultant her boss has brought in without her knowledge. L.A.’s gambling problems are mounting. And, Uncle Lucius is the only one Isaac will listen to when it comes to his daughter’s schemes to get Bebe out of his life.
All in all, Bebe comes across a tad too self-absorbed, and she jumps into bed with Isaac much too soon, considering both her recent sabbatical and how wary she is of relationships. She does, however, understand where Dash is coming from, with the objectivity of the relative outsider, and deals directly with her and with Isaac’s lovemaking – a little too directly for Isaac’s taste. But then again, she wasn’t too happy when he told his ex-wife that Bebe wasn’t pretty.
Between a rock and a hard place – that is Isaac’s lot in life as he struggles with Dashay and Bebe. It never occurs to him that he’s been allowing his daughter to run his house and his life, conveniently letting her drive women, and potential heartbreak, away. He appreciates Bebe’s sense of humor and confidence and comes to depend on her at such traumatic times as his daughter’s rite of passage into womanhood.
The book’s pace drags here and there, and is not helped by the switching points of view, which change often. Just when you are getting into reading Bebe’s thoughts, the story changes to Sandy’s point of view. This can get to be very frustrating. Also, the slang was distracting. It seemed appropriate for Dash, but not for a bank supervisor in her forties. All in all, this was a decent read, but one that did not stay with me for long.