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Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do (April GMA Selection) Paperback – April 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine; Reissue edition (April 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345478266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345478269
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Past is prologue-literally-for a young African-American woman making a fresh start in Cleage's (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day...) highly readable third novel. Just out of rehab and nearly bankrupt, 34-year-old Regina Burns receives a much-needed job offer from motivational speaker Beth Davis, a former employer. At 24, Regina went to work for Beth as a speechwriter and special assistant, helping Beth bring her message of empowerment to a growing national audience. The two women were accompanied by Beth's 20-something only child, known to all as Son. Regina fell in love with Son, but agreed to hide the romance from disapproving Beth. When they were discovered, Son broke up with Regina rather than upset his mother, driving Regina back home to D.C. and into a cocaine habit. Just as she is on the verge of losing everything, word of Son's death in New York on September 11 shocks Regina into rehab. When Beth decides to donate Son's papers to his alma mater, Morehouse College, she hires Regina to coordinate the project. Upon arriving in Atlanta, Regina runs into charismatic Blue Hamilton, an ex-singer who becomes her landlord. Blue wields an odd power over a peaceful city enclave bordered by threatening neighborhoods-and over Regina as well. As she works quickly to organize Son's papers, Regina must decide what to do with growing evidence of a secret life he kept hidden from Beth. At the same time Regina fears for Blue's safety when neighborhood tensions begin to escalate. The novel takes a creative path to a predictable ending, neatly resolving several plot lines. Regina is a delightful narrator: frank, self-aware and keenly observant. Cleage stumbles with the story's brief detour into the supernatural, but this distracting misstep only slightly diminishes the story's appeal.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Regina Burns, recovering from cocaine addiction and on the verge of losing her family home, reluctantly takes a temporary assignment in Atlanta. Her job: to oversee a memorial to Son Davis, the man she would have married if she could have wrested him from the grip of an overprotective mother, Regina's former and now current employer. Can she put herself back in the powerful orbit of Beth Davis? Can she help deify the image of her former fiance, even knowing his frailties? Her aunt Abbie, bolstered by a vision she's had, assures Regina that she will more than succeed in her assignment. In fact, according to Aunt Abbie, Regina will meet her soulmate (a black man with blue eyes, whom she loved in a previous life), rescue a damsel in distress, and slay a dragon. With that tall order, Regina sets off for Atlanta and meets a blue-eyed former singer who has managed to create a utopia in a troubled urban neighborhood, a place with no crime, strong men, creative women, and blooming gardens. Cleage combines her usual strong social consciousness, delicious character development, and evocative portrayal of black neighborhoods in a novel about love across the ages and foibles of public figures. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Pearl Cleage is a master story teller.
Anfra
And for those who have read What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, there's a nice re-visit with someone from that wonderful book.
Melanie Schuster
The story started slow but shortly into the book it became a page turner.
Eve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cydney Rax on August 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A woman who is in the midst of a life transition goes to Atlanta on business and finds much more than she could ever expect. Narrator Regina Burns is warned by her aunt that there is someone in ATL, an attractive man with 'the ocean in his eyes', so when eventually Regina meets him, she knows exactly who he is, or does she? Regina's encounters with this man, and with her new neighbors who are passionate about life and their surrounding community, changes her life and help to open up her heart. She is both brave and timid, sometimes releasing herself to accept what she feels deep inside so she can grasp the new and precious things that life has to offer. Pearl Cleage's writing sings in this refreshing and vivid novel, and her mastery of language is admirable. Cleage takes all manner of words, and connects them together like a fine piece of tapestry to create a moving and enriching story. Your social sensibilities might be stirred, and you may even find a little romance in this highly recommended novel that celebrates humanistic strength and integrity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had a chance to listen to Cleage's novel as an audio book, so I was a bit of a captive audience. The Morehouse Man in me enjoyed experiencing a story set in West End Atlanta and listening to travelog descriptions of stores and land marks that I remembered. The setting does become a kind of character in and of itself and provides a short hand method of characterization for Cleage, in that characters that are educated and community minded reside in West End, while those characters that deal in flesh and violence and pain inhabit Stewart Ave.

I like the social consciousness of the book. R&B singer and enforcer of Black manhood Blue Hamilton creates a West End where women can walk securely after dark and pimps, pushers, and abusers are afraid to transgress. Cleage's characters are aware of their culture and communal obligations as Black people. Her West End is a kind of Duboisian Black Utopia in which the Talented Tenth actually share the fruits of success.

At the same time, it's hard to mix social consciousness, prophetic dreams, and romance. In Cleage's book the three don't exactly blend well. In truth, the book isn't all that romantic. Now, I'll confess that's fine with me, as I'm not a fan of romance stories posing as literature anyway. Black sections in bookstores are already overfilled with disposable gossip novels. Cleage promises a romance story, but the prophecies and predestination create a build up that the actual courtship of Regina and Blue doesn't live up to. Their relationship seems too easy and sudden, even taking into account past lives and reincarnation.

I think Cleage finds herself in an awkward position as a writer.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Brown Girl VINE VOICE on August 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Pearl Cleage's latest novel, Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do is a tale of recovery, redemption, and a love that transcends time. Regina Burns, a talented speechwriter, is fresh out of a Washington, DC rehabilitation center and ready to begin her life anew. She has rebounded from cocaine addiction propelled during a period of depression after breaking up with her fiancé and having her habit fueled by her inheritance from her recently deceased parents. Desperate for money, she embraces responsibility and reluctantly accepts a short-term job in Atlanta with her "would-have-been" mother-in-law (who was really the cause of the break-up) to save her family's home from foreclosure. If this sounds like a challenge, it is; however add in her visionary aunt's premonition regarding Regina's destiny to save a damsel in distress, slay a dragon, and meet a handsome man with "the ocean in his eyes" and the level of complexity, suspense, and drama goes through the roof!
This novel is in sync with Cleage's other works, in that she exposes human nature to the bare bones - she skilfully wraps issues surrounding love, class, sexuality, and race into a wonderful story. Her characters are warm and likeable; her sense of humor is witty and perfectly timed; and her pacing is great. It is a delightful "feel good" novel in that in the end the prophesy is fulfilled, cosmic justice is served, and a message on doing the right thing is delivered. This is a wonderful summertime read!
Reviewed by Phyllis
APOOO BookClub
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Kenard on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Big Cleage fan, but this one didn't "hold me hostage" like the others. I kept waiting for something to happen, but by the end of of the book, it was pretty boring. It was almost fairy-tale-ish with the visionary aunt (fairy godmother), then everything falling so neatly into place with the whole Blue Hamilton thing. I guess I can assume that he "knocked off" anyone who didn't "act right" within the bounds of his territory. Still kinda lost @ how the whole "he's been searching for you across time" thing works, but maybe it was just me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sinead NiC on June 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read and enjoyed several books by Ms Cleage. This book is also well written, with realistic dialogue and lots of clever observations.

I was saddened, however, by the fact that the only white people who appeared in the book are villains. For instance, Ms Cleage dubs the mortgage banker who cuts Gina a break and lets her -- after months of crack-junky irresponsibility and non-payments -- have another chance to save her home "the weasel." The only other white people mentioned in the book are the saccharine, cookie-cutter Republicans trying to corrupt Beth. I'm certainly no fan of the GOP and its treatment of Black Americans, either, but Ms Cleage's treatment of white Americans (or Asian, or European or any other kind of people) in the book was really strange. In this respect, the book reminds me of the "feminist utopian" novels written by lesbians a few years ago - books depicting an "ideal world" -- with no men.

I was also disappointed with the one-dimensional character of the former emperor Blue. Ok, we get it - he's hot and he's strong and he protects his own, but there's no depth to him. The whole emperor story is bizarre, too - it's briefly mentioned but there's no story there.

Pearl Cleage is capable of so much more. I was disappointed with this book but since her writing is still interesting, even when the plot is not well developed, I gave it four stars.
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