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Departures by Adrienne Bellamy New American Library, September 2004 $13.95, ISBN 0-451-21294-0

If you possess an indulging sense of humor, need help in developing one, or simply don't mind blushing, Departures may be the novel for you. It has relaxed diction and steamy romances that furnish extensive graphic details. The reader will get to scrutinize the chaotic lives of black women whose methods of securing rewarding lifestyles add conflict to this story.

Amongst these "extraordinary" women resides 10-year-old Amber, who is smart and determined to keep her head above water despite trials of mental and physical abuse inflicted by her mother. Horace, her mother's ex-boyfriend tries to help her. Amber's grandmother is scandalous and leads a futile lift. She shares the same interests--men, money and sex--as her daughter Paula, Amber's mother. Other characters in Departures exhibit some unwholesome activity that those who are prudish may find petrifying.

Nonetheless, the author addresses pertinent issues such as abortion, unfit parents and unfaithful spouses. There are characters, too, who have dreams that they pursue and accomplish, whether they are returning to school or finding substantial love after failed relationships.

Each chapter flows cohesively and the story is engaging with the colorful lives of its characters. And the book ends with its villains convicted and its protagonists rewarded--which seems like justice. Both men and women may find this novel engaging and will keep reading until the end. Bear in mind, though, that this novel should come with a warning stating that it is exclusively for adults.

Yvette Mingo is a senior at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
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Author:Mingo, Yvette
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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