According to recent news reports, African Americans have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in this country. Forty-three percent of black men and about 42 percent of black women have never been married. More than 70 percent of black children are now born to single mothers. From Bill Cosby to Tyler Perry to President Obama, the black community has faced strong criticism for its instability in relationships.
It is into this social arena that Denver author Ifiok Etuk offers A Romance Truth, a unique guidebook that attempts to make real for his readers what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t in the modern day quest for a fulfilling and lasting love. While the advice is universal, he is clearly speaking to a young, black audience.
Though a quick read, A Romance Truth packs a lot of thoughtful guidance into its 77 pages. Etuk explores the minefield of hope and dashed expectations through three fictional relationships. The men and women in each are less fully developed characters than they are sit-com types. This is forgivable because Etuk does a good job of giving enough detail to their lives to hold interest. One warning: This is adult material as the sexual scenes are graphic.
The book’s strength comes at the end of each chapter when Etuk discusses what the men and women did right and wrong. A bit preachy at times, Etuk deserves credit nonetheless for offering equal criticism of both genders. The woman in the first couple, for instance, seemed destined to be yet another wearisome example of a hard-partying, gold digger using sex to snare an upright, solid man. Yet Etuk points out that the man also is to blame for being too rigid and not trying to understand the why behind his girlfriend’s actions. This isn’t the definitive book on love, but A Romance Truth is worth a look.
Also available in hardcover.