For Lemont and Maggie Lester-Allegro, the main characters in Stanley Bennett Clay’s “In Search of Pretty Young Black Men,” searching for love and love of self are easier said than done.
In the book, Clay illustrates the sex, lies and secrets of a wealthy Baldwin Hills family beautifully. His frequent use of letting the characters flash back to happier times and lustful nights keeps the pages turning and drama escalating.
We never dream of what it would be like to be married, and not in love, always searching for something and not knowing what it is.
Lemont, a doctor from a prominent family of pioneers, and Maggie, a University of California-Los Angeles student, met in the hospital. Lemont nursed the then Maggie Simpson back to health. They were soon married only to find out their marriage was doomed from the start. Maggie was pregnant with her deceased boyfriend’s baby.
After giving up the baby, she makes up a lie that the baby died, so that the Lester-Allegro family name would not be smeared. After years of marriage, Maggie and Lemont’s love for each other fizzles out, and they stay together only for comfort.
Dorian Moore, a male prostitute who serves the bourgeois women and men of Baldwin Hills proves to be well worth his expensive price for Maggie. Dorian and Maggie’s one encounter together leaves her with a smile for days, but after her husband’s Caucasian mistress kills herself on their front porch, Maggie is unable to cope.
Clay’s novel really exemplifies the saying “It’s a small world” after the twisted correlation between Maggie’s “dead” baby, the male prostitute who is the same age that the baby would have been, her husband’s infidelities with the dead woman, and the same male prostitute she was sleeping with all came together.
This page-turning story is so sick in some ways that it keeps you wanting more all the while wondering if such madness could be possible. In the back of your head, however, you know it can.
Searching for love can be a painful yet necessary part of life. Growing up not knowing who you are can be even worse. Struggling to keep the balance between loving yourself enough, and not neglecting your partner can also prove to be a deadly chore.
Eventually, Lemont finds out that being himself is better than living a lie-you will have to read the book to find out what that means.
This book will leave you realizing that women are not the only ones searching for “pretty young black men.” Some supposed “straight” men are searching as well, and men and women have some of the same needs – to be loved, adored, and able to be themselves no matter what.
In the end, this book is a must read for people who want to get lost in a fantasy world that can be so close to a person’s reality that it’s scary.
Grade: B +
Contact Crystal Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.