Meeting of the Waters: A Novel by Kim McLarin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The meeting of the waters is an actual natural event that occurs in Brazil. It's where the water from the Solimões River (which is muddy) meets with the dark water from Rio Negro. They run side by side without mixing. I've seen pictures of it, but I hope to see it in person one day. The phenomenon is mentioned in the book and holds much significance to the story itself.
Porter Stockman, a white journalist from Philadelphia, goes to Los Angeles to get the story on the Rodney King riots. While there, he finds himself the target of a group of angry, black people. Fortunately, a black journalist, Lenora Page, saves him. When he finds out that she will be working at the same paper, he goes out of his way to show her his gratitude, which results in love.
I loved the characters in the book. You have Porter Stockman. His mother is overbearing. His father doesn’t seem to care about much, and his sister is a maverick. He spent his teenage years wondering what the hell he was going to do with his life. He likes to think of himself as a white person who doesn’t see race as an issue. He’s an all-around good guy. He’s believable, funny, and real. He doesn’t do all the right things, and he doesn’t do all the wrong things. He makes human decisions, which many authors tend to forget about.
Lenora is a very pro-black woman who can’t believe she’s falling for a white man. Her father left her family when she was young, and her mother is dealing with being bi-polar. Her younger brother still longs to find their father, but she’s given up all hope. She’s very proud to be a black woman, and she’s quick to let everyone know. She’s independent, smart, and sassy. She loves herself without being a stereotype, and honestly, a lot of women—of any race—could take a lesson from her.
The only thing that annoyed me about this book was Lenora’s preoccupation with race. I understand this was important to establish her character. She was trying to make Porter aware of the prejudices that people of color and biracial couples go through, but it turned into borderline obsessive after a while.
Being a woman of color myself, it even drove me mad. I definitely understood how helpless Porter felt. I could see the wedge she was driving into their relationship with race. It was tiresome, even for me – the reader. She manages to break a really good man, and by the time she realizes her mistake, things are already broken. Then they must choose what they really want.
Other than that, I loved this book. It really makes its reader thing about race relations. One of the most important questions posed in the book is not about Porter and Lee’s relationship itself, but the question of what makes a person racist. It’s not just a typical romance where two of the characters happen to be a different race. It really gets the readers thinking about the politics behind race.
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(Note: This is a review I wrote some years back. I'm just importing a few reviews from my old book blog.)