Bebe's by Golly Wow

Bebe's by Golly Wow

4.5 2
by Yolanda Joe

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Bebe's paid her dues. Now it's time to light a little fire . . . .

Bebe's got a brand-new tight-fitting money-green dress. Isaac has three dollars in his wallet and fifty out on loan. Bebe's wearing her best lipstick. Isaac's got a shirt that could have been on Soul Train, a car that won't start, and a pair of free tickets to a "happening" nightclub he


Bebe's paid her dues. Now it's time to light a little fire . . . .

Bebe's got a brand-new tight-fitting money-green dress. Isaac has three dollars in his wallet and fifty out on loan. Bebe's wearing her best lipstick. Isaac's got a shirt that could have been on Soul Train, a car that won't start, and a pair of free tickets to a "happening" nightclub he'll wish he never used. All in all, it's a first date made somewhere far from heaven. And it's the start of something really hot.

Following her acclaimed first novel, He Say, She Say, Yolanda Joe brings back her high-spirited heroine, Bebe, as she takes a shot at love with a sweet, good-natured Chicago fireman named Isaac Sizemore. So what's the problem? Here's a hint: she's twelve years old, raps, and knows an enemy when she sees one. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This funny, sassy, and honest story has the feel of a good, long talk with a best friend."
Chicago Tribune

"An in-your-face love story that captures your heart with its street-smart language and its likable characters."

"An exuberant tale."
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Joe follows the commercial success of He Say, She Say with an exuberant if unambitious tale of love discovered in the nick of time by two lonely, 40-something African Americans living in Chicago. While attending graduation ceremonies at a local college, fireman Isaac Sizemore spies mature Bebe triumphantly accepting her diploma, taps her on the shoulder and makes a date. Isaac is single in one sensehis wife left him several years ago. But there is a jealous woman in his lifeIsaac's 13-year-old daughter, Dashay, an aspiring rap artist who isn't looking for a new mom. As Isaac and Bebe try to make their love work, they suffer through several comically horrific dates, as well as Dashay's attempts to thwart their developing romance, all of which Joe relates in the alternating voices of the three principals and Bebe's best friend, Sandy (who faces love and career troubles of her own). These voices are crisp and full of fun, even if most of the characters share Isaac's confessed inability to tell the difference between "meaningful conversation and talking shit." Underneath all the jive (e.g., "I'm divorced by force, think love is from above, like my books long and my brewskis in a short glass"), there's a sweet core of sentimentality that will no doubt strike a chord with many readers who have hoped for a second chance at love. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A lightweight follow-up to He Say, She Say (1997) provides a realistic, if uninspired, portrayal of remarriage in an urban middle-class African-American community. Bebe, a middle-aged bank supervisor, is looking for love, as is Sandy, an employee at a popular Chicago radio station. Sandy, though young enough to be Bebe's daughter, is actually her best friend. Both women have been burned in the past, so when Bebe meets Isaac Sizemore, a well-read, thoughtful fireman who's raising his daughter on his own, it's hard for her to accept that he's the real thing. Complicating matters is 13-year-old Dash, Isaac's daughter by Alicia, the woman who left him to "see the world" when Dash was only ten. Isaac finds himself caught in the opposed agendas of two strong-willed females, and it takes nearly losing everything before he wakes up and faces his responsibility both to Dash and the woman he loves. Meanwhile, in a subplot that gets short shrift, Isaac is also dealing with his irresponsible friend L.A., who's deep in gambling troubles and looking out for his elderly Uncle Lucius (Lucius manages to dispense more wisdom than all the other characters combined). While Bebe struggles with Dash—whose antics include pouring Tabasco into her food when she's not looking—Sandy's career is on the line: Her boss brings in a white consultant named Richard Belder, who intends to put his own stamp on the station. The most refreshing aspect of Joe's take on these two women's lives is that Bebe, older by 20 years, is rewarded for her experience by finding what she's been seeking, while Sandy learns from Bebe's patience and sustaining self-respect. A pedestrian story line, but as before, with livelydialogue and smart-as-a-whip female protagonists.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.91(d)

Read an Excerpt


Like a fine liqueur on the rocks, I'm straight up expensive—sweet on the lips—intoxicating in small doses—hard to put down—and good to the last drop.  Why have I not found a brother who will savor me the way he savors a good drink?  I'm not bashing, I'm bothering.  I'm bothering to let them know that I need their attention on a positive tip.

I'm neither perfect nor hopelessly flawed.  I'm a regular sister.  And there are way too many nice, single, working black women out here looking for love.  I'm in my forties and if I have to stay single, I'm not going to cry . . . at least not in public.  But privately I will long for the sweet love, nurturing, and companionship that I wish I could-a, would-a, should-a, shared with someone.  I think emotional ties between people, men and women, friends and family, are key.

At night I say a prayer, a special one I made up myself. I believe praying is like investing in the Dow Jones—you have to put stock in it, be consistent, be patient, and in time the payoff is big.

My prayer is this: "Dear God, send me a good man to share my life with.  Let him be a Christian, a family-oriented man, and a head of household just like the box says on the income tax form. May he be pleasing in Your sight and in mine.  And please, GOD, let me know him when I see him.  Amen."

The reason I'm on this man subject is that I'm getting ready for a hot date tonight with a new guy named Isaac.  It's going to kill me to say it but I've got to . . . I'm nervous. Yes, me the Be.  The confident Be.  Maybe I'm nervous because I took myself out of the mix for so long after my last fling with Duke, who knocked me for such a loop that I went on a self-imposed sex sabbatical.  But then, a couple of weeks ago, I met Isaac. . . .

How'd we meet?  Well, I don't want to brag, but ah, I'm a recent college graduate!  Yep, and at my graduation I did a very dignified stroll across the stage (to much applause, thank you) and got my B.A. in business.  It was a hell of a lot of work, I'm here to tell ya!  But I did it!  I took classes at night and during the day worked full time at the bank as a supervisor.  My best girlfriend Sandy cheered me on all the way.  She's the one who encouraged me to go get my degree in the first place.

Anyway, we were in the hallway after graduation.  Ah, let's see—me, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins from out of town, Sandy—and this man stepped up and touched me on the shoulders in an ever so nice way and turned me around to him.  You didn't hear it from me, maybe you read about it in Jet, but the man was fine.  Not that that matters but, Lord Jesus above, it takes a load off a girl's eyes, heart, and mind.

Anyway, he said, "Hi, my name is Isaac Sizemore."

I immediately liked his looks and his voice, too.  Isaac is around six-four, broad-shouldered, barrel-chested, the color of a perfectly browned steak, with thinning hair, and a sexy little gap in the middle of his two front teeth.  He told me his friend's daughter was graduating and then he asked me if I would like to go out sometime.  And I knew right then and there, exclamation point, my sabbatical was over.

It doesn't pay to rest too much anyway.  You'll lose your edge, understand?  Today you need to be ever more sharp to deal with these men out here.  That's because they come at you in all sorts of crazy ways.

We exchanged phone numbers and I knew he was going to call but I didn't know when.  Finally, several days later, Isaac called, then we set the date for tonight.  I had to put both my hormones and my nerves on ice.  But I've been wondering all week if Isaac has been as nervous as I've been.


I'm a nervous brah man about my date tonight.  But I had to ask this woman out.  I knew I wanted to talk to her as soon as I saw her cross that stage like she constructed it plank and nail. Her head was back . . . legs fully extended in full strut . . . hips swaying . ..  attitude sashaying . . . stop, grab the diploma, strike a pose.  Lady, lady, I laughed to myself!

Yes, this was a woman I wanted to get to know and my mind was made up.  My grandpa, God rest his soul, said I was headstrong to a fault.  Grandpa said, "Boy, know when to quit.  Know when to let go.  You'll grab ahold ta something and sink wit' it before you let it go.  Stubbbbbbb-orn!"

That's what he always said.  And it made me feel bad.  Stubborn was a negative word and I didn't want to think there was anything negative about me.  There was enough prejudice against a black man as it was.  So I looked up "stubborn" in the thesaurus and found a word I liked better.  "Tenacious." I've always felt that I have tenacity.  And my tenacity said, "Get that woman to let you take her out no matter what!"

Now the date is set for tonight.  I just took a shower here in the firehouse and I'm getting ready.  The rest of the guys are downstairs watching the tube.  I like to watch old reruns.  You know, the classics, "Good Times," "The Andy Griffith Show," "What's Happening," "Big Valley," "Batman," and "Gunsmoke." I don't care too much for these new shows.  Oh, yeah, and I love "Soul Train." It's the hippest trip in America and my all-time favorite show.

I'm standing in front of the narrow mirror tacked onto the back of the door.  I've got my peppermint-striped beach towel wrapped around my waist and my flipflops on.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Am I getting fat?  Everybody's always talking about exercise. Sit-ups.  Push-ups.  I just like to get up in the morning.  But I better take a good look here.  Women can be mean when it comes to a man's body.  What did Diana Ross say?  "I want muscles." Women, including Bebe, I bet, want muscles.

That's her name, Bebe.  I like that name.  It makes your lips pucker and your throat pop when you say it.  Be-be.  It's an old-fashioned, Southern name, but stylish, too.  And it fits her. I don't even know her that well, yet I sense the name suits her.

I like my name, Isaac.  It's a strong, solid name from the Bible, picked for me by my grandpa.  It has longevity, power, and a little mud on it from old crazy-butt Ike Turner and his punk woman-beating ways.  That's why I don't let anyone call me Ike.  I'm Isaac, period.

Okay, I'm all dressed now and with my silk multicolored party shirt, I could be on "Soul Train." I'm sporting a pair of dark blue slacks and my shoes are all shined.  Let's check the mirror.  Brah looks good.  Now all I have to do is get my wallet, keys, and the address to that new club.  I put it right in my wallet just behind—what!  Three singles!  I had a fifty-dollar bill!  Where'd it go?

Who would take it?  Did I really have to ask myself that?  I started running downstairs.  There was going to be some humbugging in the firehouse tonight and I knew just who to get after, too!


Check-check-check it out.  I needed to be cleaner than Clorox for my date tonight.  So I had to have a new dress, but getting it was some drama for your mama, let me tell you.

I've got plenty of clothes in my closet but when I go out on a first date with someone I like to wear something new.  Something fresh.  Anything.  A hat.  A blouse.  Pants.  Skirt. Something new.  Call me picky.  Call me extravagant.  But like the comic says, "Call me what ya wanna, but you WON'T call me broke."  THE BE knows how to shop.  All you have to do is go to a designer outlet store.  More power for the dollar y'all!  You get the same stuff that is in ———'s  and ——— and ———.

My homette Sandy?  My best girlfriend?  She doesn't believe in that.  She'd rather go empty her wallet for a new dress or sweater just so she can say she bought it at one of those high ass places!  Please!  As long as you look good and the merchandise is quality, what's the point?

I drug Sandy, lips poked out, attitude flaring, all the way down to the store with me.  She'd been moping around ever since she broke up with her boyfriend, T.J.  But I knew she needed to get out.  We got to the store and I picked up a flier that said, sale: RED DOT ITEMS TAKE EXTRA 50% OFF.

Sandy said, "I don't like this, Be."

"What?" I said.  "Girl, stop being so bourgeois!"

Sandy can get so uppity sometimes!  She just rolled her eyes at me and tried to hang back.  I hooked my elbow around that skinny little arm of hers, pushed forward, and sang: "Onward, Christian Shoppers, marching as to war .  .  ."

We got inside and women were everywhere.  Fat.  Skinny.  Black. White.  Tall.  Short.  Shapely.  Flat as a board.  Some of everybody was up in this store, do you hear?  That's why I love shopping—there's something for everyone.  Me and Sandy don't look nothing alike: I'm tall, light-skinned, short unruly hair, and very shipshape—hips, butt, and legs for life.  That's me. Sandy?  She's dark-skinned, got good hair, and ain't stout nowhere. Girlfriend makes a stick look fat.  But we can go up in a store and both come out happy.  So, like I was saying, we were inside this store and everybody and their grandma was there for this sale!  Clothes were flying everywhere.  Folks was trippin' looking for that booyawh buy!  We went to the dress section to look around.  Sandy pulled out a dress and said, "This is cute, huh?"

I looked at it and said, "Naw, I had a fallin' out with those two heifers."

Sandy said, "What?"

I pointed to the label.  "Polly and Ester!"

We both went back to the racks.  I spied this feisty number. It was fitted at the top, strong flair in the hips, and came back in and would hit me just above the knee.  I couldn't sit in it but I sho' could shake in it!  It was money green too!  It looked like me.  It spoke to me, saying, "We both are fine so let's get together, huh?"

I reached for it and when I cleared the rack another hand palmed the other side of the hanger.  There was this woman standing there who must have been five nine and about a buck seventy-five out of uniform—cause she sure had to be playing football for somebody somewhere.  I mean for real, she was a big girl with big hair.  And I mean big, blond hair.  Big and wild like a nest had fallen on top of her head.  Her skin was bleach white and she had vampire brown eyes.

This woman gave me an evil look and said in a nasty tone, "Is there a problem?"

I looked her dead in the eye.  "Not if you let go."

She couldn't possibly fit in that dress!  Not with Slim Fast, Nutra Sweet, or Richard Simmons himself fighting to keep a spoon out of her mouth.  But don't you know she snatched the dress right out of my hand?

Sandy leaned over my left shoulder and teased, "Girl, if you can take her I'll set up a match against Mike Tyson!"

That reminded me, I needed a pair of ear muffs.

I let Drusilla the Biscuit Eater have the dress.  I pretended to go back to the rack but I was really watching Miss Dru and my dress go into the fitting room with about five other items.  With every step she took with those thunder thighs, I heard the baseline from that old cut, "Ain't Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman!"

I saw her go in the fitting room and after about five minutes she came out in the dress and stood in the waiting area.  God!  She looked like Newt Gingrich in a leprechaun outfit!  She looked terrible.  Miss Dru walked back inside to try on more dresses.  After a few minutes she hung my dress on the outside of the door.  I tipped over there, took the dress, and made my own Taco Bell commercial as I made a run for the border!

So, that's how I got this dress!  I'm standing in front of my bedroom mirror.  It's one of those old-fashioned, oval mirrors with wood trim, and I'm looking too fine, chile.  My hips are luxurious.  Impressive.  Weighty.  They are curvy-curvy cute.  But the brothers on the corner would use words like booming.  "Boo-yawy!  Baby got back!" But God gave me what I got and a little bit of the Be goes a long way.

When he called to set up our date, I told Isaac that I liked to dance and he said, "Great, me too!" He said that after his shift we would go out dancing.  I'm looking at myself in this dress. Isaac is a fireman.  So I know he can put out a fire, but what I wanna know is, can he start one

Meet the Author

Yolanda Joe is the author of the Blackboard bestselling books He Say, She Say and Falling Leaves of Ivy. A former newswriter at CBS in Chicago, she is a graduate of Yale University and the Columbia School of Journalism. Yolanda Joe lives in Chicago.

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Bebe's by Golly Wow 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was great. All the characters have their moments especially Miss Dash, who can come off a little bit rough sometimes. But after awhile she calms down and befriend Bebe. Isaac is a good man; and a wonderful father to his child but sometime he seems a little bit of. When Isaac took Bebe out on there first date it was rough, but I have to give it to him, he came back with a good comeback. Sex, wasn't all that good but when they got really into each other it was everything a woman can ask for. But sex wasn't everything up in there relationship. They had motives, spark, and they can even relate to each other and talk to each other. When you look at this book, you'll probably think oh wow this looks great, but its more then just great it's a stimulatingand exotic book you'll probably read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Bebe's By Golly Wow so much that I finished it in 4 hours. I just couldnt put it down.