Title: Saving Ruby King
Author: Catherine Adel West
Genre: Fiction / Hard-Hitting Contemporary
First published: to be published 16 June 2020 by Park Row
Edition: NetGalley e-ARC, kindly provided by the publisher
When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it means she’ll be living alone with her violent father. The only person who understands the gravity of her situation is Ruby’s best friend, Layla. Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what are his true motives? And what is the price for turning a blind eye?
There could not have been a more urgent time to read this novel. It touched on so many of the issues that have been highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement and the tragic death of George Floyd, another black man killed by those that are supposed to uphold the law.
This novel is set on the South Side of Chicago and centres around two families that are tightly connected. Both families harbour secrets, but one knows love, the other only pain.
This was not an easy read. It was not supposed to be. It was a hard-hitting, often painful read that made my heart shrink with sorrow for the people at the core of the story. The book touches on domestic abuse, incest, racism and suicide, but so worth every bit of heartache I felt whilst reading it.
This book does what so few books do. It looks at events from a number of perspectives. It does not excuse domestic violence, but it does show how hard it is to break a cycle of abuse. You also do not often get the point of view from an inanimate object, in this case a church building. I thought this tool was well-utilized to tell this particular story. It brings a whole new meaning to ‘if walls could talk’.
Overall, I was impressed with this novel. It felt very human and very necessary. The characters felt very real, as did their stories. Highly recommended.
6 out of 7 stars