Told in three parts, a Southern family and their friends grapple with the joys and disappointments of life as a direct result of being raised in a home with strong Christian values.
|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Saved Folk in the House
By Sonnie Beverly
WARNER BOOKSCopyright © 2006 Sonnie Beverly
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOh. My. God. Help me, Jesus," Zakia Wilkes said to herself as she made eye contact with one of the finest men she had ever seen. The stranger approached her as she stood on the front steps of her dormitory. "How you doin', baby, with your pretty self?" he said in a deep, sexy voice. He slowed down long enough to acknowledge her with a smile, but he did not stop. "Fine," she stammered in a barely audible baby voice. She dreamily watched him go through the front door of the dorm. When he was out of sight, she sighed heavily. How am I going to stay focused here at Manna State University for the next four years and get my degree with all these men around? Zakia wondered.
She had never seen so many fine-looking men in one place at one time. There were beautiful black men in every shape, size, style, and color. Impressive black men who were Christians, Muslims, sophisticated, funny, smooth, cool, and intelligent. They were from all over the world, and they overwhelmed her with their mere presence.
Since Zakia arrived on the beautiful, huge campus with its magnificent blend of modern and nineteenth-century architecture four weeks ago, after her high school class of 1984 end-of-the-summer party, she had been awestruck. The landscape boasted lovely, colorful gardens with hugeshade trees and benches where the students socialized between classes. Statues of college beneficiaries and famous African-Americans such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman dotted the campus and reminded the students of their heritage and purpose. All the men Zakia saw looked like they were ready to meet the challenge. In the beginning, when one of them paid her a compliment, she either found it difficult to speak or simply got weak in the knees. She was much more in control of herself now, but every once in a while, she'd be overcome and revert to her awestruck behavior.
Zakia was a pretty girl, sweet, innocent, smart, and intimidated by her mother. She had a reverential fear of Alexis Wilkes, which kept her out of any serious trouble and helped her to make the best decisions in most situations, but she was in Baltimore, three hours away from home and Alexis in Richmond. She needed strength to handle this newly found freedom.
After she had gotten herself together from the exchange with the fine stranger, Zakia contemplated what part of campus she was going to explore next. Just as she decided to check out the library, the fine stranger and a beautiful woman came back out of the dormitory holding hands. He looked at Zakia without smiling. Zakia smiled at the woman, who returned her greeting with a friendly grin. Zakia glanced at the man, who maintained a serious expression.
Okay. Now, how am I going to do this? Zakia thought. These men flirt with you, get you all hot and bothered, then when they're with their women, they act like they don't know you. Okay, I see. That's the game here too. I played it in high school.
The only difference was that during high school, Zakia was the player, thanks to her twin brother, Zachary, and his gang, the Execs. Besides, the guys in high school seemed a far cry from the worldly Manna men. She determined very quickly that she'd have to learn some defense.
In high school, Zakia was Miss Popularity. Her mother, Alexis, was a strong black woman who didn't stand for any bad behavior from anybody, including the father of her children. Rahlo Brown was an old-school player who had three children by two different women. One time when they were doing really well and Alexis had fleeting thoughts of having a nice wholesome together family, she allowed herself to want to marry Rahlo when the twins were four years old. Then she found out that Rahlo had fathered her neighbor Mavis's baby girl. So much for a wholesome family. Alexis depended on no one but herself, and she trained her little ones to be as self-sufficient as she was. Rahlo, however, was expected to provide for the twins financially.
It was no secret in the neighborhood that Rahlo was Mavis's baby's daddy. Four-year-old Zakia was thrilled beyond measure when she overheard her mother on the phone fussing to her friend Jean Harris about what a dog Rahlo was, messing with a neighbor right around the corner and giving her children a baby sister by some other woman and that she would never marry him and he better take care of the twins or she would have him locked up.
I have a baby sister was all Zakia cared about. She told Zachary.
"We have a baby sister." "Where is she?" Zachary asked. "At Miss Mavis's house." "Why is she at Miss Mavis's house?" "Because Miss Mavis is her mommy." "So how can she be our sister?" "'Cause Daddy is her daddy too." "How?"
"I don't know, but Mommy told Miss Jean that we have a baby sister and Miss Mavis is her mommy. Let's go see her."
"Okay," Zachary said, following his sister into the kitchen.
"Mommy, we're going outside to play," Zakia said to her mother, who was in another zone.
"Okay," Alexis said, glancing at her twins, but not noticing the up-to-something look on their faces as she continued to vent to her friend on the phone.
Zakia and Zachary figured they would be back before their mother got off the phone. They walked to Miss Mavis's house. They knocked on the door. Miss Mavis answered.
"Hello, twins," she said in a sweet, friendly voice. "Hello, Miss Mavis. Is our baby sister here?" Zakia asked matter-of-factly.
Surprised at the child's question and not knowing exactly how much Zakia knew or understood about the situation, she said, "Yes, would you like to see her?"
Both twins lit up like Christmas trees because it was true that they had a baby sister.
"Yes, ma'am!" they shouted in unison. Mavis opened the door wide and stepped aside so that the twins could enter. She led them into her bedroom, where their half sister was amusing herself in her crib. Zakia fell instantly in love with the baby, a real life doll, and wanted to pick her up and play with her. "What's her name?" Zakia asked.
"Raquel, but we'll call her Raquie," Mavis answered. Zachary thought the baby looked just like his daddy and was still puzzled about how Miss Mavis had his baby sister living with her.
"Is she gonna come live with us?" he asked. "No, baby, Raquie is my daughter," Mavis explained. "But she's my sister, right? Zakia is my sister, and she lives with me," Zachary responded in total confusion. "Ask your mother to explain it to you, baby. You can come see her whenever you want, okay? Now, does your mother know where you are?"
"No, ma'am," Zakia said, playing with baby Raquie's feet through the crib rails.
"Well, you better go on back home before you get into trouble. You know how your mother is."
"Yes, ma'am. Can we come see her tomorrow?" Zakia asked.
"Yes, sweetie, but make sure it's all right with your mother first."
"Yes, ma'am," Zakia said.
From that moment on, when Zakia went outside to play, she visited her baby sister. Alexis eventually found out by overhearing her twins talking. When she questioned Zakia about her visits, she realized Mavis may have been a man-stealer, but she would never harm the twins. Alexis allowed the visits. Zakia loved Raquie so much. They grew to be very close.
Their old neighborhood, by Richmond's James River, was built at the turn of the century and was fondly referred to as the village, even though it was considered lower-class. Many of the houses were more than half a century old and were not very sturdy. Some of the houses were single-family dwellings with a small yard, but most of them were attached. There was a buzz of excitement about the city building a housing project to be occupied by neighbors known as the villagers.
Some of the villagers dreamed of making enough money to move to a nearby suburb of Richmond. In fact, most of the villagers who were fortunate enough to get good government jobs or steady factory work immediately bought nicer homes in other parts of the city as a sign that they had "arrived." However, some of the villagers loved the neighborhood where they grew up, and stayed on even though they could afford to leave. Some maintained homes that had been in their families for years. Others stayed because they did not have the money to move.
Everybody in the village knew one another, and many of the people were related. The number of homes with a married couple could be counted on one hand, as could the number of homes with no children. The village was the type of inner-city neighborhood that bred issues that would follow its inhabitants wherever life took them.
As the years passed, Raquie grew closer to Zakia than to the other children Mavis bore after her. Mavis, who never married, received aid for her three other children by three different baby daddies, but Rahlo took care of Raquie. Alexis also saw to it that Rahlo took care of their twins, never hesitating to remind him of the consequences if he didn't.
Rahlo would take Zakia and Raquie for rides, for ice cream, school shopping, and all kinds of fun events. They loved their bachelor daddy and often had sleepovers at his apartment. He would get up and cook breakfast, and they would eat and watch cartoons together. He enjoyed having them. As the three of them sat around eating and playing, he would tickle them. They would laugh and try to get away or lie all over him, relaxing on the floor, watching TV, just having a wonderful time.
Zachary would sometimes ride with his daddy and sisters, but he'd rather hang out with his friends Micah Robinson and Eli White, who regarded Zachary as their leader. They had a club, the Execs, short for Executives, and never got into any real trouble. The club was mostly for organizing business ventures to make money. They went door-to-door trying to sell things such as bouquets they made from stealing flowers from the neighbors' gardens when they couldn't get Zakia to bake cookies for them to sell. They'd use the money for candy or the movies and later, as they grew up, concerts. As they got older, they began to venture out to other neighborhoods, going door-to-door to raise funds for what they said was camping equipment for their Boy Scout troop. None of them had ever been near a Boy Scout, but the scam netted them a fifty-dollar profit. Eventually, they made most of their money hustling on the basketball court. They were all good athletes, and each of them made it onto the Booker T High School basketball team.
Zakia was a cheerleader and didn't have a lot of time to spend with Raquie as she grew older. Boys took up a lot of her time, but Raquie didn't mind. She adored her sister and was very proud of her. She told everybody who would listen, "My sister is a cheerleader and gets straight As."
Zakia was an excellent student because Alexis demanded good grades from both her children. She was proud when Zakia graduated from high school and earned a full scholarship to Manna State University. She also insisted that Zachary study so that he, too, could get into college. He tried, but his entrepreneurial spirit and short attention span interfered with his studying. Frustrated, Alexis began focusing less on Zachary and more on Zakia. She was determined that her daughter would never have to depend on a man to take care of her. She would be able to get whatever she wanted for herself. College was not optional for Zakia. Being a brainiac rubbed off on Raquie, and she, too, excelled under her sister's influence.
Excerpted from Saved Folk in the House by Sonnie Beverly Copyright © 2006 by Sonnie Beverly. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is not real - even thought it is understood that this is a work of fiction - it is not even believable. A quote from the novel: "She had beautiful, healthy children; a wonderful, loving husband with whom she was always in sync; a great job; financial stability; loving supportive family & friends; her mother's approval; & excellent health - yet she was missing something." How many wives do you know are always in sync with their husbands, unless they are part of the "N'Sync" band? This storyline seems similar to many other storylines' of a young lady becoming involved with a young man she thinks will be faithful, no surprise there. LOL! Another quote: "Listening to Pastor Paterson, she began to understand that it was that kind of hypocrisy that was causing her emptiness." Next quote: ."I was born there and I'm going to die there,". Followed by, "Zakia didn't understand why Jay wasn't effected like she was. They had always been in accord. They were a team & flowed in perfect harmony. Even when they argued & disagreed, they always found a compromise." . It's all a balancing act; do you think Zakia will balance her act? To find out read all the drama right inside these covers. Afterwards you can go onto read about Nikki in the ATL This could have been better. Some of the characters did not seem "real". Otherwise this novel was acceptable.
A strong woman along with her brother Zachary raised Zakia in a single parent home. Zachary and his gang, the Execs, were always at her house giving her lessons in life. The lessons that they teach her will help her with her challenges in college, but once she graduates nothing that they taught her could prepare her for what is in store.
Both her parents raised Nikki in a Christian home. She finds love with her husband and they have 3 children, but her husband has a problem that she has been dealing with and has decided that her and her children need a change of pace. How will she handle the new changes that she has decided to make?
Lakeshia, as a young girl, has to leave the only home that she knows. She and her brother must live with their grandmother. This is added stress to their grandmother because she didn't do a good job with her own children and she wants to do a better job with her grandchildren. Will she be able to?
This was really a VERY good book. Every person that reads this book will be able to relate in one way of another. This book also shows how powerful PRAYER is and what a good influence it is on young children.
Reviewed by: Carmen
Never would I have thought this book would have been as good as it was. At first it just started off as something to read until I got another one. It surprised me to see that a 'Bibley' book as I would have called it could be so interesting. I think this book is a mind-opener to all those people who need a religious wake up call or maybe just an answer to their christian questions. This is a very positive and uplifting book that shouldn't get overlooked.*
I'm about half-way through this book and am tempted to just stop here. The book definitely has a great message, but the style in which it's written doesn't appeal to me (very little dialouge-- the author is essentially listing the events that happen to each character). Perhaps this book was a first for the author? Not sure, but I can't promise that I'll be finishing this book.
This book was wonderful......it made me want to read the book all over again!!!!!!
I didn't enjoy this book as much as other reviewers. There was no real plot to the book. The theme of the book seemed to be 'if you join a mega church, everything in your life will be wonderful.' Any trials that the characters are going through are began and solved in a couple of pages. You could really skim through the book and get the gist of it.
I loved this book. I loved the way it showed how each main character progressed in their walk with God. It showed you that they were not saint's when the were first born but had flawes and were human. It showed how God does let you go through somethings just so he can get the glory for your breakthrough. All in all I loved it from begining to end. I couldn't put it down and even kinda wish there would be a part two. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!
I was reading this book me and my fiancee and i had went through some of the same things so i was baby it's good to see someone actually release this in print.........This book is telling no matter what you're going through keep the faith because through everything god is going to be there.
A strong woman along with her brother Zachary raised Zakia in a single parent home. Zachary and his gang, the Execs, were always at her house giving her lessons in life. The lessons that they teach her will help her with her challenges in college, but once she graduates nothing that they taught her could prepare her for what is in store. Both her parents raised Nikki in a Christian home. She finds love with her husband and they have 3 children, but her husband has a problem that she has been dealing with and has decided that her and her children need a change of pace. How will she handle the new changes that she has decided to make? Lakeshia, as a young girl, has to leave the only home that she knows. She and her brother must live with their grandmother. This is added stress to their grandmother because she didn't do a good job with her own children and she wants to do a better job with her grandchildren. Will she be able to? This was really a VERY good book. Every person that reads this book will be able to relate in one way of another. This book also shows how powerful PRAYER is and what a good influence it is on young children.
This book has been the best book that I have read all year! I try to read at least three books a week. This book was very hard to put down it is a real page turner. If you are not Saved, by the time you finish this book you will be accepting Christ as your personal Lord and Savior!!