|"Ebony and Ivory, living in perfect harmony..."|
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It Ain't Just The Size
By M. G. Hardie
When a young man in today's world has something he needs to say to America, a memoir won't do, and a novel will detract and limit. M. G. Hardie chose the screenplay format for his new book, It Ain't Just The Size. It is broken up into days, so I tended to read it more like a journal, a diary sharing what had happened during the lives of the characters. Frankly, I was laughing, crying, getting angry, and thoroughly enjoying it!
We all do it--when we get together with family--but mostly friends, we share about anything and everything that's going on that affects "our" world. Lance, the main character, is an ex-con who is now attending classes. He is divorced and has a daughter that he loves very much, but due to problems with his ex-wife, he doesn't have the opportunity to see her as he would like. For a period of time, he was into a lot more, but has been affected by what has happened to him in the past. He is a very intelligent man who is trying to put his life together and, in doing that, perhaps help others.
As we begin to watch Lance's life, he is breaking off a relationship with two women, the latter are in a gay relationship but they's been including Lance in their exploits. There are four guys he hangs with. Cazz shares an apartment with Lance, so Billy, Eric and Bori roam in and out of that location on a daily basis. There's a lot of talking and kidding about sex, but there are also many serious discussions about the relationship of sex to being in love. These conversations take a decided turn, naturally, when Cess comes back into Lance's life and decides to hang with the guys.
Cess is my kind of female lead--she's able to stand on her own, intelligent and not afraid to display it with the guys and savvy enough to enter into discussions in open, honest dialogue. Even if she does inhibit some of the discussions--and the guys point that out for her to know!
Besides, she has a thing for Lance...
One of the major discussion issues is race; it is written from the point of view of African-Americans. There wasn't anything that I haven't talked about myself, in reverse, although never so vehemently, except...
I was hearing the other side of a discussion. It was real, honest--from the characters standpoint--and perfectly identified the major issues "still" a problem in America and around the world. I thought about the author's book the other evening as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder sang at the White House, "Ebony and Ivory...living together in perfect harmony..." Will we ever reach that point? I don't know, but reading M. G.'s book is eye-opening, for members of all races...all you have to do is be willing to listen without becoming defensive of your own opinions...
There is also much said about relationships--between men and women. I was grateful to have Cess participate. She spoke for the women, but with 5 to 1, she sometimes had a hard time. Let's face it, there are always going to be communication problems between men and women; however, reading the various opinions coming from 5 men does give readers much to consider about what they think!
My favorite minor character is Bori. I won't tell you why, you'll see! However, he is the main character in the discussion on immigration. In that conversation, he suggests one of the many ideas that are given throughout the book on various topics, ideas that could be considered to improve things in America. For instance, instead of sending illegal immigrants back into horrendous conditions, why not have them serve in the military for a minimum period while they completed all that is necessary to become legal...Interesting concept? I thought so... Bori was also involved one of the times when I got angry because he was jailed just for trying to see his daughter.
The other was when I learned that Lance would never be able to vote because he had been in jail. Now, I'm not saying that everyone in jail should be permitted to vote...but, get real, surely there is such a thing as being rehabilitated and when an ex-con is out, there should be some process for at least voting privileges to be reconsidered...
It was fascinating to watch the relationship between Lance and Cess develop as they argue and discuss issues. It is also exciting to see the evolution of the discussions from the other 4 men as Lance begins to speak and live as he feels he must! M. G. has in both the front and back of his book, written tributes to his grandfather--M. G., let me say that I think your grandfather would be very proud of you and this Lance you have become (the latter purely an assumption on my part!) Or, in other words, proud of your book.
I recently read a novel, by another young man who was writing with an underlying theme to help his friends, and America. Both that man and M. G. have used writing to speak out and share their thoughts and concerns about what they see. I don't profess to have understood every word in M. G.'s book, especially names and about music and clubs; but I saw and understood the concern, empathy, and love this new author is trying to share to improve the world.
In my opinion, It Ain't Just the Size. by M. G. Hardie is an excellent dialogue of today's real and very troublesome issues. If we all can read it, parents, adults, and young adults, with open hearts and minds, I believe you, too, will consider it a must-read! Indeed, you'll find, like I did, that issues addressed in the book come to mind to ponder over and over. By the way, M. G. has a blog that follows and expands on a lot of the material in his book...Consider following it as well as reading the book! A link is provided by clicking the title of this review.
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