A bad divorce can be debilitating and disheartening. In WTF Moment, Bolaji Tijani-Qudus details the fallout of a particularly brutal breakup, following his character’s struggles as he faces separation, divorce and an eventual emotional recovery.
The story starts as Devin Lewis, a personal trainer and startup business owner, walks out of the posh San Francisco home he shares with his wife and young daughter. In first-person narrative style, the author follows the petty squabbles and painful custody arguments that ensue. At the same time, we’re privy to Devin’s many attempts to make a fresh start as he moves into a condo and begins dating in earnest. The bulk of the book follows Devin’s short-lived relationships and his search for a new “WTF,” a misleading abbreviation for “wife, true love and friend.” The author also includes tales of romantic and personal woe from Devin’s male friends, a collection of thirty-something professionals that includes a sports agent and the owner of an independent record label.
In lieu of a moving account of romantic loss and personal recovery, Tijani-Qudus’ story offers a mix of personal grievances and sophomoric sexual anecdotes. Writing as Devin, Tijani-Qudus delivers a list of justifications for his separation from his wife that quickly feels petty and small. From there, we get detailed descriptions of his string of sexual encounters, scenes that lack the subtlety and grace of a Harlequin romance novel.
The dialogue seems stilted and stiff throughout. (Devin’s supposedly machismo friends break into phrases like, “That was my cousin Ron texting me. He wants me to help him move his belongings.”) Add to that a continuous string of transcribed text and e-mail conversations, and the banter becomes even more difficult to tolerate.
By the time Devin finally makes a promising and meaningful connection, we’ve already had to wade through nearly 200 pages of the character’s complaints and juvenile descriptions. By then, it’s too late to save this story.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.