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on September 15, 2013
When I first thought about reading this book, BLACKFACE by Q.B. WELL, I was told by a person on a social media site that it was too violent. I felt ashamed for picking a violent book to read. Why? Because I believe very much in nonviolence. As time passed, I would think of this title. I wanted to know whether the novella was worth reading. I can truthfully say yes. Plus, I had the chance to make my personal decision about the book.

The author is a realist. He doesn't sugarcoat what happens in some urban areas. In these areas there is raw ugliness. It's incredible what goes on in the streets. Because the book is so realistic portions of the book broke my heart. Sadly, the situations written about in the novella are ones I hear about on the news, on the internet and in the newspaper: drugs, gang wars, bad reputations of some church authorities, theft, sexual promiscuity.

One character literally admits to having only two choices. He could either choose death or prison. It's almost too much for a human heart to bear. I will remember Black, Penney, Face and Zero for a long time. While reading, many thoughts crossed my mind. First of all I couldn't blame any character for his/her actions. It was impossible for me. I did want so badly for each one to find a way out of the asphalt jungle where everyday the young people are struggling to survive like grown men and women.

So I believe the author has written a precautionary tale. If that is his reason, for me he didn't fail. I got more than a bird's eye view of how it feels for a son to see his mother begging him for twenty dollars to get some drugs, what it feels like to see a good student all of a sudden locked in a wheel chair or what it feels like to see your child dying. His dreams on hold. These words just gripped my heart. '"Damn you, boy," she gasped as she hugged him and pleaded. "Please don't let me have to bury you or see you behind the thick glass of some penitentiary. My heart could not take it."'

Maybe I have voiced those very words myself, as a mother, at some point in time. I can literally feel and hear that mother's words. Those I suppose are the gifts of Q.B. Wells. He has the ability to write realistically, and he has the skill or experience to touch a person's heart. So I will add these characters to other unforgettable characters I have met in novellas, poems, short stories and novels. Like real people, the character in literature humble me and make me
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on October 27, 2012
This book was a very good read on the streets of Chicago and the gang affiliates and the way they operate. Black was a young dark skinned man who didn't fit in and wanted to so badly. His mother constantly verbally abused him and he ran out into the streets to find someone to love him where he felt his mom didn't. He gets into it with Face again and the head of the gang makes him and Face hang together. Face has his own agenda and in the end kills White boy Roy, a cop's son and a friend of Black's and set a trap for Black,Penny and Zero to take a rap for a robbery of their leader's/Rubberman's stash house when they go to rob the house they find nothing and Penny get's paralyzed and Zero killed while Black gets away,when his mom calls Mr. Mayor, her employer and Whiteboy Roy's dad after seeing Black standing outside the building where the stash house is. Then while they are out of the way Face kills Rubberman.It was a good story.
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on September 11, 2011
A sad but engrossing story. It's a very good read, hard to put the book down. I can't wait to read part 2!!!
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on October 18, 2012
Did not like this book at all should have been free and they paid u to read it never would have paid 1 cent for it
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on September 18, 2008
Clinton Ray, or "Black", along with his friends Face, Penny and Zero all learn how to live life in the streets of Chicago in the novel, Blackface, by Q.B. Wells. The author introduces you to Black's life early on in the novel and the daily strife he and his mother encounter as they struggle to live in the same apartment - a boy-child trying to be a man and a mother trying to keep him a child.

While reading this book of only 128 pages, the author delves deep into issues such as molestation, self-hatred, gang violence, suicide, drug dependency and other issues that could arise as a result of living in an urban environment. While touching on all of these issues, none of them ever come full circle. The characters all have different scenarios going on at the same time and while reading, it got confusing to keep up with what was happening to whom. The inconsistency of their ages was troubling as well. It seemed at one point they were getting their G.E.Ds, however, a fight in the classroom would never be tolerated in an adult learning environment. The editing was very poor, making reference to a "Johnny Hathaway" album, instead of Donny Hathaway.

I was anxious to read the book after reading the description but was disappointed when it seemed as if the description was for another book. I wanted to be engaged, but it was too confusing and I knew that because of the length of the book, there was no way there could be a realistically conceivable ending that would make sense and I was correct. I am unable to make a recommendation for this book at this time.

Lena Willis
APOOO BookClub
15 people found this helpful
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on December 30, 2005
BLACKFACE by Q. B. Wells is a story about life on the mean streets of Chicago for an unpopular teen. Black is a fat, somewhat clumsy, dark skinned child who feels unloved - especially by his mother, who is something of a disciplinarian. He feels that she loves Roy Mayor, the white child to whom she is a nanny, better than she loves him because she listens to Roy's whining and complaining when she won't tolerate it from him. He is also upset at the darkness of his skin and feels that if he were lighter, he would be better loved. In one scene, we see Black scrubbing his face with steel wool and rinsing it in Clorox to lighten his skin. Finally, in a moment of rebellion against his mother, Black runs away to the streets and meets up with his friends who also have their own issues. Face is a foster child who longs for a family; Penny's mother is a drug addict he feels he must protect and Zero, who also has a stern father, stutters and longs to fit in with the crowd. All four of these young men need money and they need it right now. What will they do to get it?

Q. B. Wells's novel is a heart-wrenching picture of what life for a black teen can be on the harsh, unforgiving streets of an urban ghetto where money is everything and drugs are on every corner. It is a coming of age story where Black must decide if he is going to take the high road or the low road. Is he going to listen to his mother or his friends? Other than some editing issues that jolt the smoothness of the book, it is a captivating read. Once I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it for anyone who loves a good story.

Reviewed by Alice Holman

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
One person found this helpful
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on February 2, 2012
I went through an array of emotions reading this story and found it truly captivating. I have read several contemporary urban novels and this was by far the best. I think this is largely due to the exploration of the main character `Black'. The reader is literally transcended into his world and taken on his journey of self-discovery. Gripping read that is action packed, fast paced & emotional, all the components of a great novel. I read it through in one sitting! I highly recommend this book.
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on February 2, 2012
I got into this action packed novel straight away and was hooked from start to finish. The author does a great job of engaging the reader with the development of the main character `Black' I was totally absorbed by Blacks journey of self-discovery. At times this story is heart wrenching but it's totally engrossing & gives a meaningful perspective about the harsh realities of life growing up in an urban environment. Fantastic read.
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on November 1, 2011
Q. B. Wells has written about the harsh realities of living on the Chicago streets. A totally mesmerizing read. This novel doesn't have a dull point throughout the entire story. 'BLACKFACE' is reality. It may be cold and heartless at times, but it puts you in touch with what it takes to manage life in this part of the Country. Recommended for all serious readers.
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