A Taste of Reality

A Taste of Reality

by Kimberla Lawson Roby


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A Taste of Reality by Kimberla Lawson Roby

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060505677
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/17/2004
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 560,212
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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.

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.

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide Introduction

A Taste of Reality is a moving and triumphant novel about a woman who, against all odds, battles the most blatant kind of workplace discrimination while 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 nearly as qualified for the job. However, the problem at work is only the beginning of Anise's troubles. After being married for four seemingly blissful years, she discovers that her husband is having an affair. And to make matters worse, her best friend at work is keeping dangerous secrets.

But Anise is no quitter. As brave as she is determined, she reaches deep inside her soul to find the strength and courage to overcome 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.

With a compelling plot and writing that captures every emotion, A Taste of Reality is a deeply poignant and unforgettable story. We hope that the following questions will enhance your discussion of this terrific novel.

Discussion Questions

  1. After reading A Taste of Reality, how would you describe Anise Miller?

  2. Do you feel that the racial discrimination Anise experienced is realistic in today's society? Have you experienced racial discrimination in the workplace? What about gender discrimination?

  3. After being criticized so harshly by David, should Anise have taken him for everything hehad?

  4. What are you feelings toward interracial relationships and what did you think about Frank and his pursuit of Anise?

  5. Did you feel sorry for Lorna in terms of her situation with Jim?

  6. Should Anise have stood up for all women and minorities at Reed Meyers and taken the chance of being blackballed on a local level or was it better for her to handle things the way she did?

  7. Do you believe that, as a society, we are making progress in terms of racial discrimination and gender discrimination in the workplace?

About the Author

Kimberla Lawson Roby is the author of six nationally bestselling novels: Too Much of a Good Thing, A Taste of Reality, It's a Thin Line, Casting the First Stone, Here and Now, and Behind Closed Doors. She lives in Illinois with her husband.

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Taste of Reality 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Kay44 More than 1 year ago
I love all of Ms. Roby's books. I haven't been disappointed in one of them yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I loved it so much. I've never experienced discrimination in my workplace as a professional degreed salaried excutive in healthcare. Im not sure I would have the guts to do what Anise did. GO GIRL!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book..could not put it down. Please Mrs Roby write a sequel to this book..all of us are praying for Frank and Anise to have another book together also, to find out about Ansie's jerk of a husband!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. Of course its nothing new but this book almost mirrors what I am going through at work as we speak. I am a african american female and I work in the corportate world and its so sad that these things still happen this day in age.........its an eye opener to what you can do when you do your research! Very insprirational read..........this is my favorite author
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kimberla Lawson Roby once again is unflinching with A Taste Of Reality. Success, corporate lawsuits, infidelity, interracial relationships¿A wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kimberly's books, but this one brag until about the very end. It did hold my intetest enough to finish the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of those books that you just don't want to be caught up in your place of business. it a good read and true to life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days. One can just feel what Anise is going through and her dertermination and patience paid off at the end. I must admit I was disappointed with the ending involving Frank. Hopefully that means there will be a sequel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a young African American woman who is about to face the coporate world, I found this book to be extremely exciting and powerful. It made me think alot about life in itself, and this was the first book that I've read by a Black author that made me think as deeply as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Took four hours to read this book. It really brought home the issues faced on a daily basis no matter who you are. Keep writing Kimberla Lawson Roby, you are truly a great writer,
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, it was a little different from the others, but that's what a good writer does. They do not become stuck in just one area of a certain writing style. Readers expect too much from a writer when you do that. This book shows that Kimberla knows how to invent, protray and create many different characters as she need to bring a good novel into balance. This novel was a taste of reality of what can and does happen in the work force. I must say Kimberla, Your readers will need a sequel to this one. A good Book. Thanks Kimberla. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ive Read Other Books By This Author That I enjoyed A lot Better. Eventhough This Story is Based on Things that really Do Take Place In The Workforce, Based On Race And gender.There Were Definitely A lot Of Unanswered Questions, On Various Things. But I must Give Credit Where It Is Do...The Author Gives Very Good Descriptions Of The surroundings of her Where Characters Are, Such As The Kinds Of Clothing That Are Being Wore,The Type Of Furnishing that the character are surrounded by.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We saw this story as mainly about sexism, racism that sadly exists in Corporate America and our society. The ugly fact is ironically it exists not only external to our race but within as well. We liked how the character Anise was determined and persistant in not allowing the unjust deeds be perpetuated against her. Anise recieved good support from her 'so called' friends and her Mother. We felt that the ending lacked closure. The characters perhaps needed more exploration and depth - Mother, Frank. This story didn't touch us. Nothing in it that we could grab hold of unlike many other novels that we've read which provided endless dialogue for us and kept us thinking and talking well after we've read the last sentence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book did not grab me. In less there is a part two to clear up some loose ends. I did not enjoy this book. I have read all her other books and enjoyed them to the very last page. This was not a page turner for me. However, I can say this was a fitting book to read during the month of February.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read the the story line I was so moved I could not put this book down! It gave me a REAl REALITY check on Corp America and how even today 2003 we still can identify with discriminaiton at this level, yet we can still find love outside of our race and truly be happy... It was a really good read this author is very talented...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read other material from Mrs. Roby and I can truly say I enjoyed this the least. Very disappointing ending with too many unanswered questions.