Rating: 2 out of 4 stars
Author: Walter Mosley
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent jazz clubs….
I don’t know what it was about this book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. My parents both always raved about Walter Mosley, but I had never read his work. I was excited to read the work but did not feel compelled to finish the book. It was a very quick read, and I feel that maybe that was a part of the problem. I also didn’t like that there were so many characters involved. I was able to get a feel of the main character because the story was from his perspective, but there were so many others that were in and out of the story that I often found them irrelevant.
The story left me very confused. For one thing, the story was supposed to be a mystery, I didn’t get that feel from the book. I am not 100% sure why the woman was considered a devil. Yes, a lot of the havoc in the story revolved around her but she never actively did anything so horrible that she should be called a devil. I am not entirely sure what everyone was after either. I know it had something to do with money, but as stated before, there were so many people involved with different motives I can’t be sure where it all started. I think it would have been helpful to make the novel longer with more explanation. I think the novel would have benefited from some filling out.
Although were things I didn’t like, there were things that I did like. Of the black authors that I have written most have been women, it was refreshing to get a novel from a different perspective. Authors will generally write what they know, what they can relate to, it was nice having a story from the perspective of a black male. Many of the stories written by Angelou, Morrison, and Walker are from the perspective of black women, in this case we have a story from the perspective of a black man before The Civil Rights Movement. We see the struggles he faces with his job and simply walking down the street as a black man.
One thing that I really noticed, was pride. There is a strong feeling amongst the black men in the story and black men in my life that they have to be men. There is a part of the book where the main character explains that this deep rooted need to be manly and take pride in being a man came from years of oppression and being looked down upon. They want to maintain that although society may look down upon them they are men and take pride in that.
I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t recommend this book. Although I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to, there were aspect of the book that I enjoyed and found important such as how black men and black people were viewed by society and how it affected them. If you are looking for diversity in your books I would recommend giving this a shot.