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Changing Faces
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Changing Faces

4.2 41
by Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Meet Whitney, Taylor, and Charisse, three women who have been best friends since high school. However, this devoted troika is about to discover a wave of unexpected troubles.

Whitney is a plus-size woman who just can't turn down a box of Krispy Kremes or find a man who will stay put.

Taylor is in a long-term relationship with a boyfriend who's allergic to


Meet Whitney, Taylor, and Charisse, three women who have been best friends since high school. However, this devoted troika is about to discover a wave of unexpected troubles.

Whitney is a plus-size woman who just can't turn down a box of Krispy Kremes or find a man who will stay put.

Taylor is in a long-term relationship with a boyfriend who's allergic to commitment.

Charisse is married, with two adorable children, but somehow doesn't have what she really wants—or needs.

Then suddenly Charisse spins out of control. Her doormat husband manages to stand up to her and even threatens to go public with a very shady secret Charisse had hoped to keep hidden, especially from her interfering mother. Desperate, she decides that only a very risky scheme will save her.

One constant for these women has been the support they've offered one another. But this time, how far can friendship go?

In this witty, rollicking, deeply poignant story, Kimberla Lawson Roby demonstrates the storytelling magic that has won her legions of adoring fans and made her novels bestsellers.

Editorial Reviews

“Juicy saga of sister-friendship with all its twists and turns.”
“Vicious, compelling fun.”
Susan Adams
Roby…writes in an engaging, conversational style, like a long chat-fest between best girlfriends. But she displays a penchant for oddly formal language…Still, Roby dishes up enough drama, heartbreak, violence and redemption to keep the pages turning.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Three performers give a warm, believable feeling to this tale of friendship. Polk is the standout here: as Whitney, she latches onto the reader like a best friend eager to spill all her news. Whether bemoaning her inability to lose weight or expressing her outrage at her mother's criticisms and personal digs, Polk makes Whitney a completely real, lovable and amusingly overexcitable character. Williams takes a more thoughtful approach to the character of Taylor, a successful lawyer who learns she may have cancer. Taylor is the calm, reasonable one of the trio-the mediator between her two volatile friends-and Williams's soothing voice suits her role perfectly. As Charisse, a woman who has coped with childhood abuse by becoming controlling and sanctimonious, Chavis captures both the character's cold and overbearing personality and the hidden vulnerability behind it. These three lively, contrasting performances bring the story to life and make this audio a most enjoyable listen. Simultaneous release with the William Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 14). (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Whitney, Taylor, and Charisse are best friends who have known each other for years. Whitney struggles with her obesity; Taylor is in a long-term relationship, which does not seem to be moving towards marriage; and Charisse struggles to control her husband and dismisses her daughter as non-existent. The three women reach out to one another and at one point struggle to maintain their friendship. Each character, Rico, Whitney's boyfriend; Cameron, Taylor's boyfriend; and Marvin, Brianna, and Mattie Lee, Chrisse's husband, daughter, and mother, stay with you throughout the story. Once you start reading this book you can not put it down. And when you do put it down you think about Whitney. Will she stay on her diet and exercise regimen this time? Will Taylor confront Cameron about his lack of commitment? Will Charisse get control of her husband again? Will her relationship with her mother and daughter improve? By the time I finished the book tears were forming. Not because of the ending but because it was over. There was no more. I hope that the author is considering a sequel—I will be the first in line for a copy.
Library Journal
Chicagoans Whitney, Taylor, and Charisse have been best friends since college. As they enter their late thirties, however, the relationships become strained. While Whitney has a great management job in a telecom firm, she struggles with an eating disorder and is overweight; Taylor is a successful lawyer who is unable to get a real commitment from her longtime boyfriend; and Charisse, a nurse and mother of two, suffered extreme emotional and physical abuse as a child and is now showing signs of mental illness. Whitney and Taylor are well crafted and appealing; many listeners will relate to the poignant descriptions of Whitney's disorder and Taylor's relationship issues. Unfortunately, Charisse, a devout Christian who is secretly a monster to her family, descends into caricature. Tracey Leigh's outstanding performance elevates this somewhat uneven girlfriend novel; an experienced narrator, she evens out the often melodramatic storyline. On the other hand, the multivoiced dramatization on the abridged version only adds to the overall disjointed feel of the book, despite adequate reading from Lynn Chavis, Audra Alise Polk, and Delores King Williams. The unabridged program is recommended for medium to large collections or where Roby has a strong following. Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three longtime best friends find their relationship strained when one of them goes off the deep end. Chicagoans Whitney, Taylor and Charisse have been a close-knit trio since college. Big, beautiful Whitney has a good job in telecommunications, along with a serious food addiction. Single and eager to lose weight in time for her 20th high-school reunion, she meets sexy Rico at her gym. Rico is willing to help her get fit, but is this new workout partner too good to be true? Elegant lawyer Taylor avoids dealing with a debilitating medical condition, risking both her health and her relationship with commitment-phobic architect boyfriend Cameron. And pious Charisse is a control-freak nurse and mother of two with serious mental problems she has managed to keep under wraps. Charrise is also a cruel hypocrite, keeping several ugly secrets. Why Taylor and Whitney tolerate her at all is never adequately explained. Her orderly facade cracks for good when her long-suffering husband Marvin decides to finally stand up for himself (he begins skipping church and moves into the guest bedroom). This loss of control enrages Charisse and she begins to fantasize about how she will "take care of" all the people who have wronged her. Her vengeance extends to Whitney, who uses her new-found confidence to finally confront Charisse about her bullying ways. This encounter, among others, builds to a vicious, though not particularly surprising, act of violence. Sin and secrets in a lurid, uneven melodrama.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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5.38(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.72(d)

Read an Excerpt

Changing Faces

Chapter One


My name is Whitney, and while it shames me to say it, I'm a compulsive overeater. I don't want to be, but that's just what I've been since I was a child and I can't seem to change it. Of course, I've tried changing my eating habits a great number of times, specifically over the last fifteen years, but none of my yo-yo dieting has ever worked—at least not for long. And believe me when I say that I've tried the very best of them, one right after another. Jenny Craig, Ornish, The Zone, Fit for Life, Slim-Fast, Herbalife, Atkins, and every other low-carb, no-carb, low-calorie weight-reduction fad on the planet. I've even gone as far as starving myself completely, which was actually working until that night I passed out in the middle of aerobics class. Good God, I must have been entirely out of my mind.

But insanity is not uncommon for women like me who are at least one hundred pounds heavier than they should be—women like me who spend every waking moment planning their next delicious meal and then promising themselves that they really will restart their diet this coming Monday. Sure, there are many overweight women who love themselves just the way they are and who walk around proudly with their heads held high, but most of us are not happy with the way we look. More importantly, we are not happy with the way we feel or the way some of us tend to be treated. Like the other day, when I was sitting at the mall in the food court section wolfing down a colossal meal from Taco Bell, and the couple sitting a few feet away looked over at me in disgust. They never said a word, but Iknew immediately what they were thinking. They were wondering why I had the nerve to be eating anything at all, let alone two large burritos, a salad, and a large drink. I could read their minds as clear as day, and while I wanted to beg for their understanding, I never looked in their direction again. Instead, I pretended that they didn't even exist.

But actually, this was a huge part of my problem. I've always searched for acceptance from others and I have my "wonderfully loving" mother to thank for it. From the time I was eight, she was already criticizing the way I looked, the way I walked, the way I did anything. Nothing was ever good enough. She demanded perfection, but I never gave it to her. Tina, my younger sister, on the other hand, did whatever it took to make Mother happy, and Mother has always loved her more because of it. Mother had even slipped and told me so a few years back during an argument we were having, but now she denies ever saying it. Still, I know what I heard and it is the reason our relationship has been terribly strained ever since.

I drove my SUV onto I-94 West and immediately came to a complete stop. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper the same as always, and I couldn't help wondering why I did this every day. Obviously, I needed to work for a living, but why I drove all the way to downtown Chicago from Covington Park, the south suburb where I lived, didn't make much sense. Not when I could have easily taken the Metra train round-trip. But to be frank, I just didn't feel comfortable doing it. The Metra was nice enough, but for some reason I'd always had this weird phobia about traveling on anything relating to the rail system. Of course, no one understood it, but it was just who I was.

I continued on my journey and realized I was barely a few miles from the exit that would take me to my favorite Krispy Kreme location. Each day I fought tooth and nail trying hard not to go there, and sometimes I actually didn't. Sometimes I drove past the exit and even felt good about it, but it was always a major struggle.

I slowed my acceleration and waited for the flow of traffic to start up again. When I did, my phone rang.

I rolled my eyes toward the ceiling when I saw that it was my sister.

"Hello?" I said.

"Where are you?"

"In traffic, on my way to work. What's up with you?"

"Why on earth do you keep doing that?" she said, ignoring my question.

"Doing what, Tina?"

"Driving all the way downtown."

"I do it because this is a free country and because I want to."


"Whatever is right. Now, did you want something in particular or were you just calling to harass me?"

"I'm calling for two reasons. Well, actually, three. First, I wanted to tell you that I got promoted yesterday to purchasing manager."

"Well, good for you. I know you've been wanting that to happen."

"I have, and it's going to pay me fifteen thousand more dollars a year. Then, on top of that, Riley Jackson asked me out. You know, that fine-as-wine anchorman on Channel Eight."

"That's nice."

"Nice? It's fabulous. He's a huge local celebrity and that means I'll be going to the best parties that Chicago has to offer."

I couldn't believe how shallow Tina was. She was so, so my mother and every bit as appalling.

"What's the third thing you wanted to tell me?" I hurried to say because I didn't want to hear any more of my sister's bragging.

"That I'm planning a surprise birthday party for Mother."

"Oh really? When?"

"Duh. On her birthday."

"I know, Tina. But on her birthday, near her birthday, when?"

"Her birthday falls on a Saturday this year, so that's when I'd like to do it."

"Actually, my twenty-year high school reunion is in November, but I didn't pay much attention to the date. I'll have to make sure it's not the same day."

Changing Faces. Copyright © by Kimberla Roby. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Kimberla Lawson Robyis the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Reverend Curtis Black series as well as many other novels and novellas. She lives with her husband in Rockford, Illinois.

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Changing Faces 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good read, somewhat predictable storyline but overall, a good book.
plum_sky More than 1 year ago
This is my 1st novel by author and looking forward to reading more. The characters in the stories keeps you in the suspense. I especially enjoy the character of Whitney. I am plus size myself and knows how it feels when people watch you. I don't want to spoil the ending, so go order this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book I read of Kimberla's was Casting the First Stone. As I started reading this one I thought it wasn't as good, but soon enough I couldn't put it down. I enjoy her work.
SassyDiva More than 1 year ago
A great read, a little slow at first but it picks up and becomes great. The characters are different enough yet real in todays time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book within 3 days. A fast paced read. This author has great talent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great and have recommended it to friends. It didnt have me on the edge of my seat like others I have read, but it had a happy ending and I am satisfied.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thougt the story plot was good but how it was brought about needed some revision. The story didn't flow naturally, but it was a decent read. She has other books that are really, really, good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I definitely recommend this novel as a reader choice. The story line was very good, it kept me yearning for more and after completing this novel you'll see that it is well worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome to read it was so real that you felt just what the characters were going through and they come to life on every page. My daughter introduce me to the book and I just have to say that it is awesome and so is the editor Ms.Kimberla Roby keep on writing and I will keep on reading were getting ready to start on 'Casting the First Stone' and I know it will be great. You go Girl. Princess
Guest More than 1 year ago
Changing Faces is a damn good novel. The characters feel real and are easy to relate to. The element of hatred within a supposedly loving relationship is original as well. However, the book was a little too predictable for me, especially given the way the points of view were presented...more with Charisse's story than the other characters. This was my first Kimberla Lawson Roby book and it's doubtful that it will be my last.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the greatest. It had so much going on. Funny, shocking, and sad events. Unbelievable. This book was excellent. I cannot wait for the next book. I always tell others about this great African American author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Obee50 More than 1 year ago
Great book! ...I needs a sequel... What happen to the friends and etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was ok... not really what i expected... the book did indeed start off slow and there wasnt much dramatic changes in the end... the book was just ok... nothin more nothin less... Akeshia Marcellina
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It started out somewhat slaow but as i continued reading the plot became more complex which led to an amazing ending! Not predictable at all...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book, from chapter to chapter i couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I can relate to the characters and there situations. Charise was my favorite character because she was hurting the most. No one saw her pain until it was too late. The ending was somewhat satisfying, i wish Charise could have had a second chance.... but thats my empathy for damaged souls. I really like this book. I am looking to readsome of her other books. "The best kept secret" sounds good. Thanks Kimberla!
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