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Soul Kiss: A Novel Paperback – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reprint edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573226580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573226585
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Soul Kiss, an eloquent first novel from well-known African-American playwright Shay Youngblood, opens as seven-year-old Mariah Kim Santos is unceremoniously and suddenly deposited by her mother to live with two maiden aunts in rural Georgia. The only parting words from Mama are "Mama loves you." Mariah is then directed to wait for her mother's return. Years pass and Mariah's mother doesn't come back. Mariah forms a unique and loving relationship with her surrogate parents. As she passes into womanhood, Mariah feels emotionally complete only with other women; when she learns for the first time about the existence of her father, the central questions of her familial and sexual identities rise, and she seeks out that father, a painter living in Los Angeles. There she makes the disorienting simultaneous discovery of new areas of explosive erotic passion and family love. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Playwright and short-story writer Youngblood's first novel, a moody, lyrical coming-of-age drama, wades through words usually left unspoken, naming the poetry of abandonment and poking at the taboo of sex stirring within the parent-child relationship. At age seven, Mariah Kin Santos suddenly loses her quasi-idyllic childhood in Manhattan, Kansas, when her subtly despairing, drug-addicted mother takes her by train to rural Georgia and leaves her with two singular maiden aunts, promising to return. Mariah waits, subsisting on remembered words and keening, physically and emotionally, for reunion. After some years, she learns of the existence of her artist father and journeys to Los Angeles in an impassioned attempt to locate family and wholeness. Instead, she meets an ambivalent fate. Mariah returns to Georgia with a smaller family circle, larger and more sorrowful experience, and the hope?perhaps?of peace. Occasionally intense, but too sensitive and honest to be outrageous, this intriguing debut will appeal to many readers. For most public library fiction collections.?Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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And every time I read it, it feels like it is the first time.
"sistahz"
Ms. Youngblood's writing is exquisite, poetic, and her insight into her characters is profound.
jazmin
I picked this book up in the library while waiting for my son.
C. Ellen Connally

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
The language of this novel is so beautiful that I found myself rereading sentence after sentnce to savor the words. I finished this book in two days not because I read it quickly but because I could not put it down. Youngblood's words are the kind you should enjoy slowly and read some outloud to feel them on your tongue.There are parts of this story that are disturbing. Mariah gets raped as a young teenager--devasting--but written in a way that does not sensationalize it or provide fodder for perverts. The sexual attraction between Mariah and her father disturbs but rings true and is thankfully not acted upon.The part of this book that i related to most is a story most lesbian and bisexual women will find very familiar. It describes the pain felt by adolescent Mariah as she loses the love of her "girly girl" friend to heterosexual puberty. I think we have all been there.Unlike other reviewers i don't think that this book contains any sexually explicit scenes. I don't think that the plot is unfocused or the story depressing. This is one of the best books i have ever read--and i have read a lot of books. It is as near perfect as humanly possible. It has a spiritual beauty to it that will resonate in your soul long after reading it. It does indeed kiss your soul.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cydney Rax on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a story to read that would have a young girl as the main character; I also wanted to read such a book in first person. That's how I found "Soul Kiss". After reading reviews I purchased the book last fall and just finished it in January. I found "Soul Kiss" to be immensely satisfying. It's the story of Mariah who is sent to live with her two elderly aunts; her mom drops her off and Mariah begans to wish to be reunited with her mother in the worst way. She carries these yearnings for many years and has various adventures as she reflects on the events which happen in her life. The writer Shay Youngblood has a style I wish I could call my own. I adored the imagery she used; the descriptions of some Mariah's thoughts about how much she yearns for her mothers ("I miss my mama, but I don't want to. I am seven years old and yesterday is today, tomorrow never comes.") It was just a pleasant and poetic type of fiction; the kind I've love to be able to read all the time. I love the book and I hope you will get a copy, read it and enjoy it too. It's that good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Damn! This book deserves a bestselling status. It was hauntingly nostalgic,erotic and sad, but funny at the same time. My mother left me in the hands of strangers too, but my life story is not as entertaining as the narrator's. I would cringe at the mere thought of seducing my father or worst, posing nude for him. Sometimes I was moved to tears as I read the narrator's painful quest for love and the feel of belonging. I was not surprised at her fettish for self gratification considering the fact that she was a lonely,healthy teenager. Neither was I phased by her desire for same sex relationships. I think she should've acted upon her sexual attraction to women. Forget about childhood games. I was looking forward to a deeper, more mature relationship between the narrator and one of the objects of her attraction. Nevertheless, I admire Youngblood's subtle, erotic approach. I can't get over the fact that it was a tease, but hey, it makes us think and undoubtedly seduces the imagination---especially with a little poetic flavor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kharabella on January 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would actually give this book somewhere between three stars and four stars.

Poetry is an amazing thing, and my favorite place to find poetry is locked in with prose. This book consists of almost nothing but prose/poetry, and I think that is a good thing. The words are captivating. At the same time, I thought that some of the "poetry" did not have enough meaning, and in some places it made me think that the author had tried to hard, unecessarily, to make poetry instead of telling the story. Overall, I wanted more. Despite all the difficult events that Mariah, the protagonist, suffered through, I finished the book understanding only that Mariah had had a hard life, and still not knowing Mariah very much at all. The metaphors and the colorful images painted by the poetic lines were often interesting, but sometimes hard to accept coming from someone of Mariah's age without any childlike ways, habits, or vulnerabilities to temper them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shellio on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Soul Kiss is by far one of the best first novels I have ever read. Read is a gross understatement. I devoured this book in two days. I could have completed it in one, but as with any luscious meal, it required savoring. It was as anticipated, as delicious, and as satisfying as Thanksgiving dinner. This story flows as elongated poetry. Brilliant and beautiful, Shay Youngblood's writing style stirred my emotions and awakened every sense.

Kudos to Shay Youngblood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra on February 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Soul Kiss" is quite a good book. The good thing about it is that the author (Shay Youngblood) is talented, this is her first novel & she's done a good job. It's a "coming of age" story of a young girl who is deserted by her drug-addicted mother, & who tries to make sense of life & to deal with her pain. The story is well told & there are some very touching scenes...The only thing I didn't like was that the book was kind of short, meaning that the characters I think were not that well developed, & the story itself left some loose ends. Shay Youngblood seems to be a creative & inspired writer, so I look forward to reading her next books in order to see whether she's developed her writing style.
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