Some Things I Never Thought I'D Do

Some Things I Never Thought I'D Do

4.3 20
by Pearl Cleage

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With the unique blend of truth and humor that made her first novel, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . ., a huge bestseller, Pearl Cleage returns with an extraordinary novel that is rich in character, steeped in sisterhood, and bursting with unexpected love . . . and maybe just a little magic.

Depending on the time of day, Regina Burns is a…  See more details below


With the unique blend of truth and humor that made her first novel, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . ., a huge bestseller, Pearl Cleage returns with an extraordinary novel that is rich in character, steeped in sisterhood, and bursting with unexpected love . . . and maybe just a little magic.

Depending on the time of day, Regina Burns is a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown or an overdue breakthrough. One shattered heart and six months of rehab have left her wary and shell-shocked—especially with the prospect of taking a temporary consulting job in Atlanta, a move that would allow Regina to rescue the family home that she borrowed against when she was “a stomp down dope fiend.” Her stone-faced banker has grudgingly agreed to give her sixty days to settle her debts or lose the house.

Returning to Atlanta is a big risk. Last time Regina was there, she lost track of who she was and what she wanted. There’s a lot of emotional baggage with her new employer, Beth Davis. Can she really forgive Beth for breaking up her wedding plans on New Year’s Eve because she just didn’t think Regina was good enough to marry her son?

Meanwhile, Regina’s visionary Aunt Abbie has told her to be on the lookout for a handsome stranger with “the ocean in his eyes” who has a bone to pick and a promise to keep. Then a blue-eyed brother appears on the streets of Afro-Atlanta wearing a black cashmere overcoat, flashing a dazzling smile, and lending a helping hand when Regina needs it most. But between falling for Blue Hamilton and dealing with Beth, secrets will emerge that will threaten to send her life twisting in surprising new directions.

Like a conversation with a good friend, Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do shares hope, love, and laugher. As always, it is Pearl Cleage’s unforgettable characters and her gift for dialogue that will earn this provocative new novel a place in the hearts of her growing family of readers.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Past is prologue-literally-for a young African-American woman making a fresh start in Cleage's (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day...) highly readable third novel. Just out of rehab and nearly bankrupt, 34-year-old Regina Burns receives a much-needed job offer from motivational speaker Beth Davis, a former employer. At 24, Regina went to work for Beth as a speechwriter and special assistant, helping Beth bring her message of empowerment to a growing national audience. The two women were accompanied by Beth's 20-something only child, known to all as Son. Regina fell in love with Son, but agreed to hide the romance from disapproving Beth. When they were discovered, Son broke up with Regina rather than upset his mother, driving Regina back home to D.C. and into a cocaine habit. Just as she is on the verge of losing everything, word of Son's death in New York on September 11 shocks Regina into rehab. When Beth decides to donate Son's papers to his alma mater, Morehouse College, she hires Regina to coordinate the project. Upon arriving in Atlanta, Regina runs into charismatic Blue Hamilton, an ex-singer who becomes her landlord. Blue wields an odd power over a peaceful city enclave bordered by threatening neighborhoods-and over Regina as well. As she works quickly to organize Son's papers, Regina must decide what to do with growing evidence of a secret life he kept hidden from Beth. At the same time Regina fears for Blue's safety when neighborhood tensions begin to escalate. The novel takes a creative path to a predictable ending, neatly resolving several plot lines. Regina is a delightful narrator: frank, self-aware and keenly observant. Cleage stumbles with the story's brief detour into the supernatural, but this distracting misstep only slightly diminishes the story's appeal. 8-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Regina Burns is attempting to reestablish her life after rehab, rescue her childhood house from debt, and recover from the death of the love of her life. All this requires her to take a temporary job with her former employer, the charismatic motivational guru Beth Davis. Regina's move to Atlanta introduces her to a mysterious man and a seemingly ideal world. Cleage creates a story that often borders on the pedantic while mixing romance, politics (sexual and neighborhood), the supernatural, gang warfare, and Civil Rights history. Reader Angela Forrest captures Regina's point of view expertly, making her wonder and yearnings plausible with the right vocal expressions. Not quite as engaging as Cleage's other two novels, but the secrets and characters are compelling enough to sustain the tale. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From Oprah author Cleage (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day . . . , 1997, etc.), a romance steeped in black feminism with a dollop of spiritual mysticism. Two years ago, Regina Burns slid into drug addiction after her fianc�, Son, dropped her at the behest of his powerful mother and her employer, the Atlanta-based motivational speaker Beth Davis, whose cause is registering black women to vote. Regina's now successfully completed rehab but needs $30,000 to save the family home in Washington, DC (why a house that's been in the family for three generations has a mortgage is one of the little nagging inconsistencies typical here). Meanwhile, Son, dedicated to motivating men to act responsibly, has died in the World Trade Center attacks. How can Regina refuse her old nemesis Beth's job offer when it not only pays exactly the money she needs, but also entails arranging the transfer of Son's papers to Morehouse College in a grand ceremony? Before Regina leaves for Atlanta, her aunt Abbie shares her prophetic vision of what lies in Regina's future: in particular a blue-eyed man she'll marry. And guess who Regina meets on her first morning: Blue Hamilton, a former singer turned neighborhood savior/benefactor/vigilante, whose eyes are startlingly blue. Blue quickly recognizes Regina as the woman warrior he disappointed in a previous life as emperor of a powerful black nation. Regina moves into his well-appointed apartment house, makes lovely friends who dress beautifully, live graciously and eat delicious food. Lip service is paid to a plot involving political intrigue, Son's love-child, and some bad guys trying to reintroduce violence into the neighborhood Blue has cleaned up, but althoughRegina never misses an opportunity to talk about black and female empowerment, the world that's described in loving detail is almost fairy-tale perfect. Since Cleage never quite confronts the murky morality of Blue as a black Dirty Harry, there are few bumps along Regina's happy romance trail. Lively, fluid, disappointingly shallow. Author tour. Agent: Denise Stinson

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I have really screwed up now. This man is actually sitting behind that great big desk telling me he’s going to take my house. The house I was born in! The house my mother was born in! He must be crazy.

I know I’m the one who borrowed against it. I know I’m the one who didn’t make the payments on time. I know all that. That’s the first thing they teach you in rehab, to accept responsibility for the stuff you did when you were a stomp-down dope fiend, and I do, but I never thought they would actually take the house. What good is trying to reform if you have to spend the rest of your life paying for the stupid things you did when you still got high and didn’t give a damn?

Of course, I don’t say all that to this little weasel-faced white man who probably has no life at all outside of this windowless office where he gets to bring up your file on his computer and then swivel it around so you can see all those missed payments and bounced checks, daring you to deny them.

He clearly does not want to hear my tale of woe. Having your heart broken and thinking cocaine can fix it does not qualify as an appropriate topic for discussion with your banker. I know this from experience, so I skip the explanations and start right in on the serious begging.

Please, I say, I’m okay now. I just got a good job. I’ll have enough to bring everything current if you can just give me a little more time.

He ignores me. He’s heard all this before. He knows the house has been in our family for three generations. He knows I was born there. He knows my grandparents got married there. He knows it is more than a house. That it is an essential part of our family history, our memories, our dreams. He knows it is a sacred trust passed from one woman in our family, to the next one, and the next one, and, finally, to me.

He knows all this because I have told him many times. I want him to understand that losing this place is not an option. I’m not going to greet my mama in paradise and tell her I snorted up her mama’s house because I wanted a man who didn’t want me. If I tell her that, I’ll have to tell her that during that same amazing eighteen months, I also lost my credibility as a journalist by sleeping with all the edi- tors I wasn’t doing drugs with, missing deadlines like it was a sport, and, in the last few months before I finally went into rehab, behaving badly at several important Washington social events, culminating in the unforgettable evening when I cussed out a congressman, spilled a drink on his wife, and wrecked my car all in one forty-five-minute period.

But that was then. This is now. I’ve been clean for almost six months, and as soon as I get paid from this new job, I’ll pay the weasel what I owe and he can go swivel his screen at some other poor fool. All I need is a ninety-day extension. Just three months, I hear myself still begging. I’ll be able to bring everything current. I promise!

The weasel raises his eyebrows to let me know he doesn’t buy it for one second. He glances down at the screen again, and I mentally prepare myself to segue from begging to groveling. I’m ready to roll around on the floor and tear my hair, if that’s what it takes. I’m the one who messed everything up, but I’m also the one who is going to make it right. Starting with this house.

The weasel is still staring at the screen. He better hope whatever he needs to see there to give me my ninety days shows up in the next sixty seconds because I am this close to dragging him across that desk and whipping his smug little ass until somebody comes to pull me off him. This close.

Then he sighs deeply and looks up. Sixty days, he says, like it’s killing him. I’ll give you sixty days.

And I want to say, It’s not even your money, so why are you acting so shitty in a moment that is already shitty enough without your adding a single thing?

But it’s not his fault. I wouldn’t even be sitting here if I hadn’t done the things I did. The reason he’s acting like he’s doing me a favor is because he is doing me a favor. They could have taken the house two months ago, and no amount of world-class begging could have stopped them if the weasel hadn’t let me slide. Being mad at him is a waste of time, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that time is all you’ve got.

Thank you, I say, standing up to go before he can change his mind. He stands up and reluctantly shakes the hand I offer. He’s giving me that disapproving stone face like he’s Robert Young on Father Knows Best and I’m Kitten trying to hide a bad report card.

I’m at the door when he calls my name, and my first reaction is to keep walking like I don’t hear him, but that would be gutless, and courage is one of the things I’m supposed to be working on, so I stop and half turn back toward him. Yes?

Good luck, he says with a smile that’s almost human.

Thanks, I say, smiling back, even if he is my banker. I’m going to need it.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Some Things I Never Thought I'D Do 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tchrldy10 More than 1 year ago
The characters seem so real, and they are people I can relate to in my community. I am now looking forward to reading other books by this author.
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LadyJ24 More than 1 year ago
This story had the potential to be really great but I was left wanting a bit more in the characters and story development. I was left thinking perhaps there was to be a continuation of the story in another book. It is difficult to explain without giving away the story completely.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
An African-American Fiction Novel Things to come in life Cleage want you to look at life and how it can change so dramatic. A lot can go on in one person life and change the next. Just as the pass can come into life. Regina Burns is a good example of a life changing person in the world. This significant character is developed as a person who went down hill and became a better person by herself inside to outside. She better herself with people, work just life it self. After she better herself, she finds out that she may be the key to changing the world outlook of woman and men relationships. The setting in D.C and Georgia supports the story to the significant meaning of life. There so many corrupt and missing things that come to life that has to be solve in the neighborhood. The death of Son and mystery of his secret life. The secret of Blue true meaning of being in th world gives Regina a lot to think about to put together. Regina try to fix the problems before they become difficult to do so with a little help close friends and evidence. Cleage use flashback more in the beginning of the story to show where the character is coming from. She foreshadows characters with life and similar meaning. She is a more accomplished Playwright and use to teach playwriting at Spelman College in the past. In the sequences in the story there is Suspense, because there a lot of things going on that you don't know what can happened and makes you want to keep reading to see what gonna happened. There is hard hitting realism to what is true in reality. â¿¿I know I'm the one who borrowed against it. I know I'm the one who didn't make the payments on time. I know all that. That's the first thing they teach you in rehab, to accept responsibility for the stuff you did when you were a stomp-down dope fiend, and I do, but I never thought they would actually take the house. What good is trying to reform if you have to spend the rest of your life paying for the stupid things you did when you still got high and didn't give a damn?â¿ Regina Burns realize the main things of life and it isn't easy thought it. Regina try to take the learn back into the world with her and make her own lessons on the way. Her mistakes of the pass make a big influence on her and her future. 1st person is a better view so that the supporting characters wouldn't give out the ending of the story. If the point of view change the story would have to be set up a different way to set a successful plot. The cons of the story is that it was short and leaves you wanting more. The pros of the book is the rhythm, the inspiration,engaging and attention-grabbing, well-written, humorous, and a fast read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some Things I ....was a delightful and fun read, with more twist than I'd thought there'd be. It's refreshing to read postive stories with people of color. Still there has to be some drama mixed in, yet it's not overly laced throughout the story. The book is richly woven with some colorful characters, like Regina Burns, Blue Hamilton and small group of others you won't soon forget. Based in Atlanta, the story sends you on a journey you won't soon forget either. Kick back and enjoy yourself!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was my first american english book i´ve read-and it wass great.the story made me think about some things i never thought about before.i will read the following book,-baby brother´s blues -too,because i want to know the end.greets kathrin
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I find myself longing for a Blue Hamilton of my own. Don't miss this one. The characters come alive and I often found myself reading aloud. The ending had me in tears. Hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved all of Pearl's other books, but was somewhat disappointed in this one as the story line is difficult to follow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author is on a success high with this book. Great characters, storyline and it was so easy to relate. She brought it home for me and I enjoyed living through her words of the familiar territory. It makes you look at life and feel her words. Loved it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Talk about fabulous! This novel is a breath of fresh air in a stale world of cheesy sex and poorly done street novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly love this author. I've read all three of her novels and they just keep getting better and better. Regina, becomes a girlfriend of yours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book. makes you want to take a chance and believe that your life is already predestined
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this one. The author is an excellent storyteller. Few writers could blend past and present as well as Ms. Cleage. The characters were very well developed, believable, and likable. The air of mystery was the icing on the cake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never wished I were someone else...but, just for a moment, I'd like to be Maya Angelou so that I may string together words worthy of PEARL CLEAGE! I devoured Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, shared it with friends and have been talking about it ever since. What Looks Like Crazy on An Ordinary Day had me laughing AND crying out loud....I just finished it last night and I swear I dreamt about Ava! WOW! Much like Ava found the love of her life after already living a long life I've found my new favorite author!! Bravo Mrs. Cleage and THANK YOU!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book speaks to me on so many levels. I am glad that we have talent like this to take you where you can't go. My Mom had a stroke several months ago, I am her caregiver. I told Mom about this book and I wished she could read it too. This is the kind of book with the author's use of words that you can paint your own pictures. I was thrilled with my 'trip to Atlanta'. I loved all the characters and could easily see some of them as my new friends. Regina is a lady that overcomes some odds and finds love because she is willing to take a chance. This book is both entertaining and thought provoking. If you want a good read about real people, pick this up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Cleage pens a compelling tale in SOME THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I'D DO. The heroine, Regina 'Gina' Burns is a recovering cocaine addict. Having come to her senses, she is trying her best to correct mistakes she made while under the influence. Needing money to save her family home from being taken, she goes to work for her former charismatic boss Beth Davis, the mother of the man Gina loved but lost due to Beth's domineering ways. 'Son' Davis died in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Now Beth wants to do a tribute to him at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Gina is obliged to go through his papers in order to make certain he didn't leave behind anything embarrassing. Gina has to swallow her pride more than once, but keeps her eyes on the prize: Not losing the family home. Ms. Cleage must be a true child of the sixties. She is socially conscious throughout, especially where a black man's duty to his people and specifically to his woman is concerned. I was delighted with the secondary love story between Gina and Blue Hamilton. Picture Brian McKnight with aquamarine eyes. This is a story that uplifts everyone, especially black women. I think there should be neighborhoods like the one Gina finds herself living in once she returns to Atlanta all over the world. But I guess there are just not enough Blue Hamiltons to go around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A woman who is in the midst of a life transition goes to Atlanta on business and finds much more than she could ever expect. Narrator Regina Burns is warned by her aunt that there is someone in ATL, an attractive man with 'the ocean in his eyes', so when eventually Regina meets him, she knows exactly who he is, or does she? Regina's encounters with this man, and with her new neighbors who are passionate about life and their surrounding community, changes her life and help to open up her heart. She is both brave and timid, sometimes releasing herself to accept what she feels deep inside so she can grasp the new and precious things that life has to offer. Pearl Cleage's writing sings in this refreshing and vivid novel, and her mastery of language is admirable. Cleage takes all manner of words, and connects them together like a fine piece of tapestry to create a moving and enriching story. Your social sensibilities might be stirred, and you may even find a little romance in this highly recommended novel that celebrates humanistic strength and integrity.