Tag Archives: Raven Leilani

Black History Month Spotlight on a Great Up-and-Coming Author: Luster by Raven Leilani

10 Feb

As someone who has had a lot of temporary jobs in the past, I was immediately drawn to the main character at the center of Luster. At the heart of the story is a character named Edie. She is a 23-year-old African American woman working at a publishing company in NYC, wishing and hoping that her dream job will work out for her. This is a story that we’ve seemingly heard before. Woman in her early twenties trying to figure out her life in the big city. What’s the big deal, right? Been there, done that, move on, next book.

The reason this book is important and also a must-read is because it dares to go where other books can’t or won’t go. Raven Leilani, the debut author of Luster, takes us into Edie’s head and describes her very real-life experiences in such detail that I couldn’t help but relate to her. She ends up dating a white married man who works in the city but lives in New Jersey with his wife and their adopted African American daughter. The catch is that this guy’s wife is okay with Edie dating her husband because they have an open marriage. Through a series of weird and coincidental events, Edie ends up living in New Jersey with her new lover and her lover’s wife and child. 

Leilani’s writing is what kept me immersed in this book from the get-go.  She has a way of keeping you captivated and also second-guessing about what Edie is going to do next. Edie in this book is her own worst enemy, but I could relate so much to the way that she can see what the safer choice is for her to make, and then immediately runs in the other direction just to see what happens. Anyone who has ever been in their early twenties (or even later in life) and feels like their life is spinning them in circles on a daily basis, then this book is for you.

Written by:
Nicole Marconi
Library Assistant, Children’s Department

Celebrate Black History Month with us; share your favorite Black Authors or books about African American History in the comments!

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