Mrs. Big promises a juicy tale – a woman who schemes to marry rich only to ponder about reforming her ways – but it badly disappoints. The heroine’s reformation is unconvincing, and I couldn’t care about her after she expresses no remorse for committing a stupid, selfish act.
Loletta is a young, attractive black woman who dates only rich men. She went out with R&B group members and hip-hop artists during college because they gave her money until she realized their earnings came – and went – too quickly. Loletta wants almost guaranteed wealth, so she sets her sights to meeting and marrying a type of man who could give her that – a richly paid top professional athlete.
She first targets Carter, a basketball player with a multi-million dollar contract. She maneuvers to meet him at a party, and they have a torrid one night stand. She thinks the relationship is off to a promising start when he deposits $10,000 into her bank account. But Loletta promptly dumps him when she finds out that he’s married. See, successful athletes don’t get divorces; their wives would stay in miserable marriages rather than give up all that wealth.
Loletta then targets Kavon, another basketball player. Even better, she knew him from college. On their first date, he admits he has never forgotten the huge crush he had on her at that time. She eagerly says, “yes” when he pops the question just days later. Kavon lavishes Loletta with expensive gifts and generously agrees to let her mother live with them so that Loletta can watch over her mother’s health. Loletta enjoys her new life and marriage immensely, but trouble soon brews. She sees Kavon with a female fan and when she later asks him about the woman, he becomes defensive and angry, making the suspicious Loletta wonder if he’s cheating on her.
Okay, a story about a modern day gold digger is clearly appalling, but it is also perversely fascinating. Who hasn’t wondered (just a bit) about what goes on inside these women’s heads? Mrs. Big gave me some possible answers. I also enjoyed a number of other points. The backdrop of a professional basketball player’s life is different and exciting, and the descriptions of wealth are incredible. There are the insights on the kind of woman that a wealthy athlete would attract and the unequal power that lots of money plays in their relationships. The characters, an almost exclusively African-American cast, are lively and show a healthy attitude toward sex, as revealed from the lusty and explicit sex scenes, although one scene, a ménage a trois which is responsible for the “Burning” Sensuality Rating, was way too much for me. Finally, the complicated and troubled relationship between Loletta and her mother is very well developed and compelling to read.
Unfortunately, the relationships that Loletta has with men aren’t as developed or as interesting to read, mostly because both Carter and Kavon have thin and problematic characterizations. I never got much of their personalities other than being young, good-looking professional basketball players who make a ton of money. How can Carter be a nice guy if he knowingly has an extramarital fling? Kavon starts to do some not-so-nice husband things, but there really aren’t any clear explanations to the readers as to why. A few characters offer Loletta their theories, which aren’t necessarily the facts. And why does Loletta believe their opinions so quickly rather than, oh, talk to her husband (whom she says she loves) and maybe get him to go to marriage counseling?
Finally, the novelty of a decidedly Bad Girl’s story only lasts for so long. An early scene that hints at Loletta’s possible reformation kept me reading. Loletta says she just wants a nice man who loves her, and she doesn’t care if he’s rich. But she is more hardened to her extravagant lifestyle than she realizes. Still, I didn’t write Loletta off until she does something that made her now rocky marriage to Kavon even more rocky. What she does is just awful and terribly stupid – as is Kavon’s behavior, which prompted hers. And neither of them ever expressed any remorse about their actions. Because of this, the resolutions offered at the end of the book lacked conviction.
Mrs. Big started on an intriguing note, but because of its unpleasantness, that note soured for me. There are good points to this book, but its pervasive lack of likability will not entice readers to buy it.