A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
A Taste of Reality

A Taste of Reality

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by Kimberla Lawson Roby

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A triumphant novel about an African-American woman who, against all odds, almost single-handedly faces down the most blatant kind of workplace discrimination, while at the same time dealing with a crumbling marriage and a trusted friend's betrayal.

On the surface, Anise seems to have it all: a successful career, a solid


A triumphant novel about an African-American woman who, against all odds, almost single-handedly faces down the most blatant kind of workplace discrimination, while at the same time dealing with a crumbling marriage and a trusted friend's betrayal.

On the surface, Anise seems to have it all: a successful career, a solid marriage, and good friends. But when she applies for a promotion at work, she loses out to a white colleague who isn't as qualified for the job. But Anise doesn't give up and tries again. At the same, she discovers that her husband is having an affair. And her best friend at work is keeping dangerous secrets. As brave as she is determined, Anise finds out that she has the strength to deal with the heartbreak and stay her course. Ultimately, she will discover that what is worth having is worth fighting for--in her career and , most importantly, in her heart.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
While this novel about workplace discrimination gets off to a promising start, it is ultimately disappointing. Anise is an African American MBA graduate working in the employee benefits division of a large manufacturing company just outside of Chicago. When a management recruiting position opens up, she applies for the promotion and is clearly the best candidate. However, the patently racist human resource department managers feel that Anise is best suited for a position in which she works more closely with factory workers, many of whom are also African American. When the job is given to a less qualified white woman who is having an affair with the boss, Anise fights back. At the same time she learns that her husband, a successful VP at a pharmaceutical company, is having an affair with a white woman. Despite the intriguing premise, Roby's novel has a tendency to explain characters' thoughts and motivations just after their dialog, which leads to an arduous listening experience. Although narrator Tracey Leigh offers a solid performance, this title is not recommended.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Taste of Reality

Chapter One

I drove my pearl white Lexus SUV into the subdivision and sighed with much confusion. I sighed because even though I was living "the good life," I wasn't all that happy. My marriage was more than shaky, my career was heading nowhere, and I spent most of my time wondering how everything went wrong. I even wondered why this solid-brick three-level dream house was no longer important to me and why now, it was merely a place to lay my head.

After pulling around the circle drive, just past the front door, I eased the gear in park and turned off the ignition. Then I stepped out onto the concrete, grabbed my handbag and briefcase, and pushed the door shut. It really was a gorgeous day, and now I wished I could spend the rest of the evening relaxing on the deck. But if I wanted to finish updating the new-hire handbook by next month, I knew I had to keep working on it at home for a couple of hours each night until then. But I didn't mind, because in human resources, overtime was very necessary.

I unlocked the front door and walked inside. I went through the two-story foyer, passed the sunken great room, and headed into the kitchen, where I set my belongings down on the double island and picked up today's mail. The central air was kicking with full force, and that of course meant that David had finally arrived home from one of his many weeklong business trips—one that included this past weekend. He was a successful vice president at a Chicago pharmaceutical sales company, but somehow it was hard for me to believe that spending so much time away from home was truly necessary.

I dropped the stack of bills, magazinesand clothing catalogs I've never ordered from back onto the island, went down the hallway and into our master bedroom suite. David was sitting in bed, leaning his back against two king-size pillows, watching something on television. But he looked at me almost immediately.

"Hey," I said as a peace offering, because we really hadn't spoken since arguing two nights ago.

"Hey, how's it going?"

"I'm okay," I said, but couldn't help remembering how things used to be when he arrived home from his business trips. He'd call me twice each of the days he was gone, send me flowers without warning and would call me at work, letting me know that he was back at home waiting for me. But things always seem to have a way of changing. So have we as man and wife.

"So how was work today?" he asked, glancing at the television and then back at me, waiting for a response.

"Same ole, same ole." I kicked off my pumps and shed the jacket to my periwinkle linen pantsuit. "Although, they did repost the same HR manager's position I applied for six months ago. I heard this afternoon that the guy they gave it to is moving to Arizona."

"You thinking about going for it again?"

"I don't know. I don't even know if it's worth the hassle."

"Meaning what?" he asked. "A hassle in terms of all the responsibilities that come with a managerial position or the hassle of having to apply for it again?"

"I mean the hassle of having to prove myself all over again to a group of men who totally ignored the fact that I was qualified the first time."

"Well, for one thing, I don't think that sort of attitude is going to help you one way or the other," he said, and then looked away because he knew we'd argued about this very thing not so long ago, and that I resented his position regarding it.

"I don't want to be pessimistic about this, but based on what happened last time around, I just don't know if Jim and Lyle believe I can do the job. I was clearly the most qualified, yet they still gave it to a white guy who only had an associate degree and had never worked in human resources. Even though I had an M.B.A. and over three years of HR experience." I removed my panty hose and wondered why he never tried to sympathize with how I felt about anything.

"I'm not saying you shouldn't be upset about what happened before. But what I am saying is that maybe this time will be different if you go into the situation with a little more confidence in your superiors and with more of an open mind. I know you think they treated you unfairly, but maybe you just need to give them a chance."

"You know what, David?" I said out of mere frustration. "Just because you have the job of your dreams and have never had to experience job discrimination doesn't mean that it doesn't exist."

My feelings were so hurt. I couldn't believe my own husband, the man I loved, was trying to defend the same people who had passed me over for a promotion without any justifiable explanation.

"In all honesty, I can't confirm whether discrimination really exists or not, but since I've been pretty successful with climbing my own career ladder as a black man, it's hard for me to see what so many woman and minorities keep complaining about. Maybe it did go on back in the sixties, but things are different now. They're much different," he said matter-of-factly.

If I hadn't heard him with my own ears, I never would have believed that any black person could say such a thing. I was trying not to argue with him, but he was making it more difficult by the minute.

"You've been successful because you've always kissed up to the right people," I said before I knew it. "David, you've been a yes-boy for as long as you've been in pharmaceutical sales, and sometimes even I can't tell if you're black or white. Pretty much, it depends on what day of the week it is, where you are and who you're talking to."

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

Meet the Author

Tracey Leigh�is an actor with numerous theater, television, and radio credits. She has narrated a number of audiobooks, including�The Other Woman�by Eric Jerome Dickey and�What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day�by Pearl Cleage.

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