The Itch

Benilde Little, Author
Benilde Little, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-83834-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-684-85430-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 286 pages - 978-0-7434-8243-1
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4391-3580-8
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Returning to the buppie territory of her popular debut, Good Hair, former Essence editor Little continues to probe the difficulties faced by men and, especially, women who have devoted their lives to realizing the American Dream only to discover that lasting love is more elusive than success. Abra and stockbroker Cullen Dixon move in the highest circles of African American New York. The Dixons seem the perfect, perfectly safe couple, ""Buffy and Jodi in blackface."" Both worry over Natasha Coleman, Abra's best friend (and partner in a fledgling film company), who can't seem to find a man. But when Cullen chooses passion over perfection--in the arms of another woman--Abra moves with Natasha to Hollywood and finds herself on the singles scene for the first time in her life. Meanwhile, Natasha begins to fall in love with globe-trotting investment banker Miles Browning, but doubts whether he's ready to settle down. An eager observer of class, Little often seems torn between satire and nouveau-riche snobbery: rivers of Cristal and the chirp of cellular phones may not drown her characters' sorrows, but they do seem to help. What distinguishes Little among commercial novelists is her honest ambivalence toward her characters' conspicuous consumption; their glitz comes at a spiritual price. Many readers will recognize the price her characters pay (and many readers will wish they had it so rough), but even more will sympathize with women forced to ditch their dream of happily-ever-after in order to look out for number one. (June)
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