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July 28, 2011

What's the point? Tribulation Point

Tribulation Point: Sometimes Just Making It Through Another Day Isn't Always EasyTribulation Point: Sometimes Just Making It Through Another Day Isn't Always Easy by Ricci Lane
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 2011 by Outskirts Press
ISBN 9781432773304
Read July 2011

I received this book for free from the author for the purpose of providing an honest review.

For those who have watched my videos the last two weeks, you know that I have been struggling to finish Tribulation Point. It had so much promise and maybe my expectations were too high, but this book missed the mark for me. I never really connected with the characters, the author missed many opportunities for better conflict within the plot, and don't get me started on the editing. I really hope the author didn't pay Outskirts Press for copy editing, because I would be asking for my money back.

I think my biggest problem with the book was story set-up and plot development. It was like reading about someone's life who didn't really have anything happen, though there was plenty of opportunities for drama and conflict in this urban fiction novel. It covers a tumult period in the history of our country, however, the author did not capture any of the racial conflict that was occurring. It was alluded to, but not brought forward enough to give me the sense that I was in the midst of it. Instead, I was given middle school basketball stats.

On Ricci Lane's blog, the author states that there are over 50 characters in this novel. I think that the cast could have been cut in half and more time spent developing the true character of the people in the story. The blurb I was sent when offered to review the book had me believing the focus would be on Precious. However, halfway through the story becomes focused on the narrator, her son James; Precious becomes a minor character. This development left me wondering why the heck I spent 50+ pages reading about basketball stats for this woman. 

The reading level for this book isn't high. Did you know that the newspaper is written on a sixth grade reading level? I don't think the book was marketed for middle grades, particularly given the fact there is some sexual content. Many times while reading Tribulation Point, I felt that I was reading a newspaper article. I was given facts, but the details that make it storytelling was absent. The lack of basic editing bugged me, and became increasingly distracting by the the last third of the novel. 

The man said; "my name is Sylvester Blackmon." "All my friends call my Sly." "I've been working this route for seven years and I always see you walking." "I just thought, today I'd stop and speak." page 64
 Also, there was a lot of repetition.

Pork Chop and I both had received basketball scholarship to the same college, a small predominately white college in Austin. It would not be far from home. We would be able to visit home on a regular basis. page 84
 Then just a few pages over, again we are told...

We had learned that we both had received four-year scholarships to play basketball. The best about it was that we were going to be teammates together at Wolf A & M, a small Catholic College in Austin. This was going to work out well because we would not be that far from home and could come and visit from time to time. page 93
These problems kept popping up and with more frequency towards the end of the book (particularly the quotation use problem). The name of the college was also being misspelled by the last few chapters (Wolfe instead of Wolf).

I was disappointed with book. It could have been so much better with a little editorial help and a lot of copy editing. Other readers thought it was a great read. See GoodReads for other reviews or you can try the book yourself. I'm giving away my copy of it.

For your chance to read Tribulation Point by Ricci Lane, please leave a comment with a way to contact you. I will use to select a winner. You have until Saturday July 29 at midnight US EST to enter. It is open to US addresses only.


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