It seems that the newest and long-overdue trend in relationship fiction is the emergence of male authors creating female characters. Author Eric Jerome Dickey brings us two sets of best friends: Leonard and Tyrel, and Debra and Shelby. Leonard meets Shelby. Tyrel meets Debra. The two couples fall in love and challenges abound. Friends and Lovers teaches the reader to appreciate and recognize true friendship and love when they grace our lives. In the tradition of Terry McMillan, Dickey takes relationships to a more realistic level.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Close on the heels of last year's popular Sister, Sister, former stand-up comedian Dickey offers another sexy, sophisticated portrayal of hip black L.A. Introspective nurse Debra and outspoken, impulsive stewardess Shelby have had their share of bad-news brothers, so when they meet Leonard and Tyrel, best friends who work for the same software company, both women have their doubts about getting involved. The relationships take different courses: Debra puts sex off until she and Leonard (who enjoys a blossoming career moonlighting as a comedian) get married, while Shelby and Tyrel learn the hard way that long-lasting romance doesn't begin between the sheets. In the end, it takes disaster in the life of the newlyweds to bring Shelby and Tyrel back together. Short chapters written in the voices of his four main characters and engagingly trendy dialogue keep the pace brisk as Dickey skillfully fleshes out two dynamic African American women whose talk and travails ring true. Literary Guild selection. (Nov.)
Second-novelist Dickey more than fulfills the promise shown in Sister, Sister (1996), again offering real characters and invigorating, believable dialogue.
The loves, lives, and losses of four vibrant, Los Angelesbased African-American men and women are the subjects on which Dickey focuses his powers of observation and finely tuned wit. Tyrel, whose twin sister Mye is a constant source of support, is a computer-company executive whose career is far more steady than his love life. His best friend, Leonard, is an aspiring stand- up comedian who seems poised for stardom, though also remaining unhappily single. When the two men meet Debra and Shelby, it seems that their luck has taken a dramatic turn for the better; after a matter of days, Leonard and the light-skinned, quiet but determined Debra, an OB-GYN nurse, have fallen for each other big-time. It takes Tyrel and the outspoken, harder-edged Shelby, a flight attendant (who hates being called a "stewardess"), a little longer, but after a rocky start they too find in each other what they've been searching for. Los Angeles seems at first a paradise for the foursome as they enthusiastically hit the beaches, comedy clubs, restaurants, and discos. Then a massive misunderstanding destroys Tyrel and Shelby's romance, leading them to move to San Francisco and San Diego, respectively; by this time, Leonard and Debra are happily married and frustrated with their best friends' inability to resolve their differences. It takes tragedy on a grand scale to reunite lovers destined for each other and to teach both couples that friendship is perhaps the most valuable gift they've been given.
With four characters taking turns offering snippets of the story, it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's talkingbut familiarity makes for smoother sailing through another success scored by Dickey.