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Don't Want No Sugar.

Don't Want No Sugar by J.D. Mason St. Martin's Press, October 2004 $19.95, ISBN 0-312-30158-8

It's 1931 and warm for April, with summer coming early that year. Probably because Miss Martha, a half-Indian midwife, opens her heart and home to Roberta Lewis, the pretty, orphaned girl whose doll, BettAnn, talks without moving her lips. When Eula May leaves Roberta to baby-sit her dead father while she hurries to her suicide, the house burns to the ground. The fire conceals how Mr. Bobby's charred body comes to be on Eula May's bed and the knowledge of how hard Roberta's manta had loved her father, another woman's husband.

Thus is the scenario at the beginning of Mason's satisfying third novel, Don't Want No Sugar. A master storyteller, Mason deftly narrates a story of adultery, murder and love. I longed to hate Roberta but recognized that the character has supped in sorrow's kitchen, and because of it, generations must feel the wrath of her obsessive love. Nevertheless, I never closed the novel for long, finishing it soon after beginning it. This well-plotted story boasts elegant prose, exquisite humor, and luminous scenes that assure Mason an honored place amongst contemporary novelists.

Claudia Sarden Claudia Sarden is writer, performance artist and English teacher in Lithonia, Georgia.
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Author:Sarden, Claudia
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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