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All the Trouble You Need: A Novel Paperback – February 25, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743422392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743422390
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,577,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A young black college instructor finds himself enmeshed in an over-the-top romantic triangle in Tervalon's latest, a fast-moving but shallow look at the California dating scene from an African-American perspective. Randy 28-year-old English teacher Jordan Davis opens the novel with a visit to his libidinous friend Mary to satisfy his carnal appetites. But Mary is merely an appetizer for the two main romantic coursesTrisha Bell, a sexy but chaste African-American woman, and Daphne Daniels, a lovely but troubled multiracial student in Jordan's course on Japanese literature. Trisha's demand for marriage and commitment cools Jordan's libido considerably, but he finds a willing partner in the exotic Daphne, until her violent, abusive husband suddenly surfaces. The situation turns bizarre when Trisha arranges to meet Daphne; later, she tries to shelter Daphne from her sadistic spouse. A pregnancy adds further complications as Jordan tries to choose between two beguiling women. Unfortunately, Tervalon doesn't adequately explore Jordan's moral and emotional quandary and lets events glide to easy conclusions. Tervalon (Dead Above Ground) is at his best when he's documenting Jordan's struggles to make the transition from the L.A. ghetto to the rich, elitist college culture of Santa Barbara, and the scenes in which Jordan has to steer clear of the local police as he arranges his dating and academic life are particularly effective. The dating chapters are entertaining, but Tervalon's inability to develop his characters and get beneath the surface of their desire for an idealized, fairy-tale relationship makes his novel feel slick and superficial.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Los Angeles Times All the Trouble You Need is a page-turner. Drama develops at a tantalizing clip.

Los Angeles Magazine The twisting plots and drawing room intrigues are captivating.

More About the Author

Jervey Tervalon(fiction) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but moved to the Jefferson Park/Crenshaw area of Los Angeles, California, with his family as a young boy. He attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he graduated with a BA in Literature. He received his MFA from UC Irvine where he studied with Thomas Keneally and Oakley Hall. His thesis project became the novel Understand This for which he won the 1994 New Voices Award from Quality Paper Books was based on his experiences teaching at Locke High School. He's had four novels and a collection of stories and two anthologies and numerous short stories, essays and articles published. His most current publication is "Golden: The Education of a Young Pootbutt,"in Slake Magazine, published in July 2010.

Literary L.A.
David L. Ulin
published: February 12, 1998

JERVEY TERVALON sold his first poem to Scholastic magazine while he was still in junior high school. "'My God,'" the Pasadena resident remembers thinking, "'I can make money at this.' And I've been deluded ever since." Raised in Los Angeles, he attended Dorsey High School and UC Santa Barbara, where he wrote stories about his neighborhood, publishing them in "little magazines that no one reads." After graduation, Tervalon taught at Locke High School before entering the MFA program at UC Irvine; there, he returned to a work in progress about South-Central that ultimately became his first novel, Understand This. Although the book won a Quality Paperback Book Club New Voices Award in 1994, Tervalon has been stymied in his attempts to publish subsequent work - his second novel was bought but never issued, and a third book is circulating now. "Most publishers," he says, "feel like they can't lose money underestimating the intelligence of the black reader, and there's no one out there to balance their preconceptions, and prove they're wrong. It's especially hard coming from Los Angeles,

Honors, Awards: Disney Screen-writing Fellow, 1992; Quality Paper Book Club's New Voices Award, 1994; Finalist, Discover New Writers/Barnes and Noble Award, 1994; Honorable Mention, Pushcart Prize, 1996; Gold Crown Award from the Pasadena Arts Council, Remsen Bird Artist in Residence, 2001;. Josephine Miles National Literary Award for Excellence in Multicultural Literature, 2001; California Arts Fellowship, 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dera R Williams VINE VOICE on July 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jordan Davis, a young African American male of twenty eight, is content with his life, living in Santa Barbara, California and teaching a course or two a semester while working on his doctoral thesis in literature. Life is good or at least most of the time. That is when his best friend and roommate Ned is not needling him about the scarcity of blacks living in Santa Barbara, or when he isn't so sexually obsessed with "that white girl" Mary, or when he is not wrestling with his confusion of the kind of relationship he wants from Trisha, a young well-to-do black senior at the university.
Having escaped his inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood, Jordan is comfortable with his life in a city that offers him serenity even if the black population is only one percent. He can live with that. Trisha comes from a family of privileged black folk, a family that is committed to civil rights in Santa Barbara and has high expectations of their children. She belongs to AKA sorority, is beautiful and intelligent, on her way to law school and a virgin at twenty-two years old. His friends tell him she is what he needs, she is the one to settle down with and Jordan knows there is no half-stepping with Trisha; she is the marrying kind. He has strong feelings for her; with Mary it is just a sex thing, but then the most tempting, exotic, beautiful woman walks into his Japanese Lit class and rocks his world. Daphne, of undetermined race, her heritage hardly anyone is able to determine, has a troubled past. Having traveled over the world, she is back living with her rich parents and is smitten with Jordan, as he is with her. But she has brought back a lifetime of baggage and all the drama that accompanies it.
Ned announces he is moving to D.C.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "gbersch" on May 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Tervalon has done it again! He's tackled the big issues of sexuality, self, and race in a character driven narrative that leaves the reader satisfied and thoroughly entertained. Tervalon's ability to deal with heady issues in an engaging and thought provoking way singles him out as not only a gifted storyteller, but as one with a literary depth masked in a very readable Hemingway-esque style. His books just keep getting better! This book is the best yet!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on May 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In ALL THE TROUBLE YOU NEED, we meet Jordan, a leisurely professor in Santa Barbara who seldom knows what it is he wants or needs from life, and in particular, from women. He's sown his share of wild oats, but it isn't until he meets Trisha and Daphne that his world is truly shaken by his indecision. After all, the women he "played around with" were never taken seriously, but these two ladies, Trisha, the virgin and "the marrying type" and Daphne, the mysterious vixen and one of his students, are a force to be reckoned with in their own rights. The women seem to stand on different ends of the spectrum of womanhood, and Jordan is caught in the middle.

Tervalon once again strays from the norm with this book. The plot is strong, and the characters are even stronger. And while the concept is not all that outlandish, he pulls it off, adding a psychological twist to the story of a man caught between two women, two worlds, and with a monumental decision to make.
Reviewed by CandaceK
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tsehay on August 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually read 'relationship' books. I generally find them to be cliche'-ridden and draining. I almost put the book down but decided to stick it out because I was curious to meet Daphne, the girl with the 'shadowy secrets.' The minute Daphne entered the scene I was hooked. I'm talking cooking-with-one-hand-and-reading-with-the-other kind of hooked. It was the battle of...the playa versus the gentleman. It was thrilling being inside the mind of a man and I often found myself saying loudly to my husband, "So THAT'S how it happens!"
Kudos to Tervalon for a job well done.
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By Jinghuan Liu on February 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
Amazing book about college life and reaching true adulthood set in Santa Barbara. Funny, witty and thought-provoking. I wish I had come across it earlier! A must-read!
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