Nubian Circle Book Club

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Justus Girls Book Review

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The Justus Girls - SlimLambright
Reviewed by Phyllis Rhodes
The Justus Girls is the story of four African-American women (Peaches, Jan, Sally and Rachel/Roach later known as Rasheeda) each with a distinct and sometimes disturbing life.  The story journeys through their childhood years in the 1960s middle-class Philadelphia to the shocking murder of one in present day.  Four girls involved in an all-girls drill team (called The Justus Girls or JGs) bond and are there for each other through family troubles, heartache, and marriage.  Often as art imitates life, the JGs have drifted apart in adulthood only to be reunited by the death of Peaches.   They are surprised at how time and distance caused them to loose contact with one another but they promise to rekindle their friendship and find out the truth about who killed Peaches. As they set out to discover who killed their friend they rediscover each other.
The author skillfully navigates back through time through alternating chapters that reveal details of each girls life including their secrets, humiliation, and lies.  We witnessed how their futures were shaped by poor parenting, sexual abuse, alcohol, promiscuity, the husbands they choose, the dreams they pursued, and long-held secrets that each of them were afraid of being exposed. There are characters that you absolutely love and characters that you hate.  All are carefully constructed from the one-legged pimp, Monsieur Daddy Baby, Madame Red Top, the unusual hero/heroine transvestite, Vaa, to the femme fatale, Ursula.  There are a lot of sub-stories told within the novel but they are all necessary to understand whom the Justus Girls really are and how they came to be emphasizing the power of influence in childrens lives.  Lambright really delivers strong character development and even better character dialoguemembers of the club often found themselves laughing and cheering aloud as they read the book.  These characters are alive -- truly jumping off the pages and into your world.
This novel is an impressive debut, in fact, it is probably one of the best written, best developed, best plot twists and turns storylines that this reviewer has had the pleasure to read by a new author in quite sometime.  Lambright set up scenes and situations and gave you enough information to wet your taste and satisfy your need for details without going overboard. The story includes all the ingredients of a wonderful read: suspense, drama, memorable characters, vivid imagery, sharp and witty dialogue, and strong writing.  There was plenty of drama (one member commented that it was TOO much drama) to keep the audience turning pages.  Lambright weaved a tale so revealing about friendship and supporting each other that exemplifies the expression true blue and tight like glue.  This is a well-written story of true friendship and ties that bind. This story is simply wonderful.  Our book club members deducted points largely at the end when the killer is revealedI think we all were surprised and slightly disappointed at the it for yourself to draw your own conclusion. I look forward to more novels from this writer as this book was an exceptional work!  Ms. Lambright is a welcomed voice in the literary communityI wish her continued success on her sophomore release.
The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for The Justus Girls is







4.4 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address:

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