Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Strawberry Letter (BOOK REVIEW)

The Strawberry Letter:
Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy
By Shirley Strawberry
With Lyah Beth LeFlore
Foreword by Steve Harvey
One World Books
Hardcover, $22.00
186 pages
ISBN: 978-0-345-52550-5

Book Review by Kam Williams

“I’ve been Shirley’s partner in radio for over ten years now… I am amazed by how she manages to balance her personal and professional life—especially as a single mother.
‘The Strawberry Letter’ is one of our most popular features on the show. Shirley’s advice is the more sensible approach, quite contrary to what my answers are…
You’re gonna be able to take these letters and Shirley’s experiences and advice and apply them to you daily lives, and I know it’s going to work out really well for you as a result.”

--Steve Harvey in the Foreword (pgs vii-viii)

Comedian/actor/deejay/author Steve Harvey spawned a veritable cottage industry of black love advice books when he published “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” back in 2009. But none of those imitators which have come along since has matched the success of that runaway #1 best-seller. However, he now has serious competition in “The Strawberry Letter“ which was coincidentally written by Shirley Strawberry, co-host of Steve’s nationally-syndicated radio program.
This tome takes its title from a regular segment on the show where they read and respond to oft-bizarre letters from listeners in search of counsel on a host of relationship issues. Here, Shirley not only answers inquiries from the lovelorn, but also draws upon a wealth of her own experience as a veteran of the battle-of-the-sexes to come up with a sensible plan likely to land you on a successful life path.
Highlights range from a promiscuous 21 year-old who admits that “I always jump into bed too soon with men,” to a kissin’ cousin wondering whether it’s wrong that she’s sleeping with a relative she’s had a crush on “since I was a young girl,” to a guilt-ridden cougar who is pregnant by a nephew of her husband about half her age. Even if you can’t exactly imagine yourself in such kinky predicaments this well-reasoned how-to is nonetheless worth its while for the entertainment factor alone.
Sure, Shirley does dole out decent advice, but the bulk of the fun for this reader was in the jaw-dropping, Jerry Springer-themed dramas she’d been asked to referee. Shirley! Shirley! Shirley!

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