A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life

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Relationship and dating guru Demetria Lucas shares the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos for fabulous single living.

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A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life

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Relationship and dating guru Demetria Lucas shares the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos for fabulous single living.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

An intermittently amusing memoir of the author's life as a single woman living, working and dating in Brooklyn.

Lucas notes in the introduction that while single white women haveSex and the Cityas a glamorous representation of living and working, single black women have, instead, a series of alarmist news reports about their dire and inevitable fate. The author attempts to correct this imbalance through a series of anecdotes depicting her life as an aspiring magazine editor in the Big Apple. Many of these stories consist of some variation of Lucas attending an exclusive industry party escorted by a handsome man who will fetch her free drinks and introduce her to other handsome men. Much likeSex and the City, Lucas' life will be, for the majority of readers, an escapist fantasy rather than a realistic representation. Those looking to live vicariously through the author's fashionable adventures or relish the sordid details of a gossip-worthy love life will be satisfied; readers looking for insight extending beyond Lucas' personal experience will find scant material. Occasionally, the author presents a nugget of hard-won wisdom: She advises women that they will benefit from forgiving the occasional slip-up and "learn the difference between a good man who effs up and an effed-up man given to occasional moments of grandeur."

Readers will find very little advice that they couldn't glean from the pages of a woman's magazine—or their own common sense.

From the Publisher
"Fun, sexy, witty, and captivating."
-- Vibe Vixen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451606317
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 5.88 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Demetria L. Lucas is the founder of ABelleInBrooklyn.com where she muses almost daily on dating, sex, and relationships as well as pop culture and women’s empowerment. She is also the Relationships Editor at Essence magazine where she authors her own hook-up page.

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Read an Excerpt


While I was writing this book in 2010, there was an onslaught of articles (Washington Post, Economist, New York Times), prime-time TV segments (Nightline—twice), books, and countless blogs examining “Why Black Women Are Soooo Single.” It seemed that whenever a media source needed some sort of Nielsen ratings bonanza or to send their website’s comments section into a frenzy, they’d trot out a horrific tale of no love and lots of loss. The plot was always the same: a single Black woman from a densely populated city clinging to a flavored martini, a Louis Vuitton Speedy, and/or a perfectly coiffed girlfriend wondering where all the good men had gone. (Go-to answers: dead, gay, unemployed, on the down low, in jail, or with a White woman.)

As I watched, read, and listened to the same story over and over, I wondered why “the problem” of singleness was being presented as a Black issue or even a female one. There are 96 million people in the United States who have no spouse, according to a 2010 study from the U.S. Census Bureau. That means 43 percent of all Americans over the age of eighteen are single. So where are the news stories about White women and Latinas and Asian ladies who are desperately single and searching? The closest I saw was “The New Math on Campus” in the New York Times, a story where White women at the University of North Carolina talked about their dating dilemmas and all the quotes sounded as if they’d been lifted from an early Terry McMillan novel.

What about the single men? Black ones and the ones of all other colors, too? If women are not getting married and we’re supposed to be marrying them, shouldn’t they get an equal number of stories? I’ve never understood how we’re having an ongoing national discussion about the difficulty facing heterosexuals who want relationships and almost the entire conversation is about or aimed at women.

While Nightline had single Black women talking about crying into their pillows and throwing Black men-at-large under the proverbial bus, I couldn’t help but recall that the most prominent tale of Dating While White, Sex and the City, featured women well past thirty shown practically high off new experiences, the carefree unaccountability of considering anyone else’s feelings, and the thrill of picking through men like trying to find organic produce at Whole Foods. For White women, singlehood looked exhilarating and adventurous, not desperate, the way it is too often shown for us as a tedious but important exercise to make sure we don’t end up alone. (See Pam from Martin, Regine from Living Single, or any character from a Terry McMillan novel for reference.)

As I tuned into Sex and the City each week or popped in the DVDs during the off seasons, I became increasingly frustrated. I knew plenty of Black women who were single and satisfied or single and searching but more optimistic than desperate. We lived full and adventurous lives, finding ourselves regularly sitting across from (and flirting with) attractive suitors with good conversation and pretty white teeth. It was a rare occasion that any of us sat home unwillingly for lack of a quality male option to happily plunk down his debit card after dinner and a drink. We still got giddy over meeting up with a new guy and exchanging witty banter at chic venues. And we knew there were a lot of cheerful single women like us who enjoyed dating, whose sole focus in life wasn’t how to get a man to put a ring on it.

I began blogging in 2007 because Happy Black Girl stories weren’t being told. I was sick of depictions of my Black and single life that made it look so burdened and heavy. I wanted everyone to know about regular Black girls and women with semidramatic adventures that were pretty painless and very amusing but resulted in extraordinary growth. I wanted everyone to know about the quality men in the world, the ones I met every day, that I know exist, but are rarely shown in the media. I’d been waiting for someone to tell that tale again since it had been years since Tracy Chambers (Mahogany), Nola Darling (She’s Gotta Have It), and Nina Mosley (Love Jones) had a say. Then I realized that as a writer, I could just pick up my laptop and start typing.

At the time, I was in my third year as a book editor, working with bestselling romance authors and in my sixth year as a professional journalist, covering entertainment and lifestyles. My musings began on MySpace, quickly gained a following, and moved to a wider audience at HoneyMag.com, where my blog about my “hilarious dating misadventures as a Southern woman living too far above the Mason Dixon” became the most popular feature on the site.

As the audience grew, so did the number of letters in my in-box. Women from eighteen to sixty began thanking me for offering an alternative portrayal of Black life and for writing what they felt but couldn’t find the words to say. That’s when I knew I was on to something that was bigger than me and my girls.

Four months after my blog launched on Honey, I accepted a position as the relationships editor at Essence magazine, a job that utilizes my desire to debunk the negative depictions of single Black women, tackle our dating dilemmas, and help us live our best lives possible, whether our goal is to have fun or to have a relationship. I’ve also popped up in newspaper articles (I was dubbed “The Black Carrie Bradshaw” in a Washington Post feature article, which I have mixed feelings about) and on TV shows, both as a dating expert who teaches Sandy Denton aka “Pepa” from Salt-N-Pepa how to meet men on Let’s Talk About Pep, and selecting a sexy man to be featured in Essence on Being Terry Kennedy.

Over the last four years, I’ve also completed thousands of interviews with men and women to gather information so we can close “the dating divide,” hosted roundtable discussions where the sexes are provided a forum to hash out their issues face-to-face, searched for and offered up single men to the Essence audience, interviewed hundreds of experts about what we can all do better, became a life and relationships coach, answered thousands of dating and relationship questions on Formspring, and penned a monthly column for Essence that tackles current dating issues. Slowly but surely, I’m convinced, a dent can be made in the way we are portrayed, and the way we see ourselves. Together, we can close the gap between how women and men relate to one another.

In your hands, you hold my best attempt to make a difference. I’ve shared my life—mistakes and all—as well as the insights I’ve gained. My story isn’t perfect, it’s not always pretty, but it’s honest, with ups and downs and many more highs than lows. Some details have been changed to protect the innocent (or guilty, depending on how you look at it), mostly names and physical descriptions but some places, too. I hope you can learn as much by reading about my trials and triumphs as I did by living and growing through them.

© 2011 Demetria L. Lucas

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Exciting and a quick ready...

    I laid on the beach for 4 days and breezed through this book. As a woman in NYC who has been to similar places and have had similar experiences... I can appreciate the advice Belle has given for how to live my best life! I look forward to more exciting reads from Demetria!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    A Belle in Brooklyn

    Excellent book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    Book of the year

    This is definitely a book that you cannot put down. If you are not familiar with Demetria's blog, her writing style is very anecdotal. So if you are looking for a step by step how-to guide this is not the book. Her stories paint images that most young twenty-something + women can relate to, and will leave you nodding your head in agreement. Can't wait for her follow up work to be released.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    Recommend for Young Adults

    It was a little jumpy in nature, but the advice the author gives is very valuable. She gives her advice by telling stories of her past relationships that were really easy to relate to. A lot of the things she advised I already knew, as I am 21, but it was still very entertaining! I did give the book to my 14 yr old sister, who just started high school, because I thought there was a lot of valuable statistics and facts that I know will be valuable to her when she starts dating. All in all, I would recommend this book.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Must Read

    I love this book!!! I've told every woman around me to read it and I will be giving it out for christmas this year..

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Highly Recommended-Fun with a point!

    I was happy and grateful that these were real stories that pose a lesson to be learned versus a bunch of finger wagging points. I went through the full gamut of emotions while reading this book because they seemed like they could be my stories as much as they are hers. Life lessons as illustrated through someone's growth, laughter, tears, frustrations and victories, weaved in an endearing, honest and cleaver way leave you feeling as if you know her. Her introspective nature begs you to do the same. So I asked myself what did I learn? How do I use this insight in my own life?

    Thanks Belle for sharing a piece of your life with others so that we may live better lives.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun to Read

    This book definitely serves its purpose of being entertaining and an easy read. The author's writing style is very easy to read. While I will say if you are a woman 25 and over, this will not contain any advice that you shouldn't already know. However, I'm sure there are still some women that can benefit from this book. This book is more of a recollection of the author's life experiences, than a self help book (the section of barnes and noble in which I found it).

    Overall I was very entertained it made me re-live my college days and few years immediately following. I'd recommend it for a rainy day, your subway commute or a good beach/vacation read.

    I will buy her next book.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Book of the year!!!

    I loved this book!!! The stories were real and jumped off the page. This was a black woman's struggle to the top and finding love. We've all been there and the author is no different. I laughed, cried, and cheered my way thru this book. U gotta read this book!!

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    Could Not Put it Down

    It is a great book for young and single professionals with big city dreams. This book is filled with laughter, great stories and lessons learned, and tons of advice. You will NOT regret your purchase. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    Great read

    I love love loved this book. I found the stories to be humorous but packed with great girlfriend type advice. If you are trying to navigate the single life then this book is for you!

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!

    I read a column on blackandmarriedwithkids, and ran across a reference to this book. I am definitely glad that I decided to check it out. The free sample on BN intrigued me for sure. 1. I'm from DC 2. I absolutely love Paris 3. I Definitely dig memoirs. I have already recommended this book to my inner and outer circle of friends. The stories are hilarious, and thought-provoking. I'll look forward to other books by this author. :-)

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Awesome and Life Changing

    Any woman of any race who is going through the ups and downs of dating and looking for "the one" should read, learn from, and apply the messages in this book. I loved it!

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Throughly Enjoyed

    I read her blog daily, so I was anticipating the book. Although I am happily married, I enjoyed reading about her life experiences and totally agreed with the advice. I found myself laughing out loud in public and hated to put my nook down. The book is an excellent read. Well done Belle! I was rooting for TLA!

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    This is a MUST READ

    I was soo excited about this book I'm a fan of the blog, this book will make you laugh, cry, scream with anger,and feel hurt at various points. Demetria's writing is crisp, vivid, descriptive, as your reading you can't help but get a clear picture of her words. This book is great read for anyone, not just single women.

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    Posted December 15, 2014

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    Posted August 13, 2011

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    Posted July 22, 2011

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    Posted January 21, 2011

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    Posted November 28, 2011

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