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Book Review: Sin No More by Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Drama, Drama, Drama. It is one dramatic scene after another in Sin No More. Reading this enthralling novel is like eating chocolate – the reader just can’t get enough. Every word is like a little sweet morsel and devouring this treat in its entirety took me about eight hours.

More often than not, books with the “soap opera” theme are made up of crudely vulgar material and explicit pornographic improprieties gravely deficient in decency. All of which are reasons that I am no fan of this particular genre. However, this novel is a clean version of the “dirty stuff” per se, and it has a redemptive value that puts Kimberla Lawson Roby in a class all by herself. It’s what gives Roby’s fiction its cutting edge. Her topics parallel real life, her characters hold accurate representation of various African-Americans, and the dialogue couldn’t be more precise. Roby is an exceptionally gifted author who chooses to share her talents with taste, and I admire her individuality.

In Sin No More the infamous Reverend Curtis Black, the protagonist everyone loves to hate, is actually trying to do right by his wife – though convincing Charlotte he will fulfill his promise to remain faithful and is finished playing the “pimping from the pulpit” game may be harder than he thinks. Unfortunately, the idealized couple is confronted with situation after situation that will put their love for each other and their faith to the ultimate test.

Curtis and Charlotte are not only dealing with baby’s momma drama, but the interim pastor at their church is making blackmail threats towards the good reverend. Not to mention that Charlotte needs to work out her own infringements with humility and compliance. With the odds rising against them, they must both be willing to be ready for the fight of their lives if they want their family to survive.

This book is definitely a pager-turner that will have you reading well into the night. My desire is to read the prior books leading up to Sin No More – therefore I’ll be well informed by the time Roby’s next book is released.

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About Takiela Bynum

  • DC

    With all due respect to the reviewer, I don’t understand how you can say that Roby is exceptionally gifted. She is one of the worst writers I’ve ever encountered. Her plots and characters are contrived and completely predictable; she crams her book with useless filler (do we really need to know what a character listens to on her MP3 player, or what the best hair care processes are, when they have NOTHING to do with the plot or anything else?); and her prose is both ungrammatical and clumsy.

    It’s one thing to write trashy, melodramatic novels. It’s another thing altogether to write them and not be able to write effectively or create any tension.

  • T.G.

    To the previous reviewer.
    It’s amazing that you know so many details about Ms. Roby’s books, you must have read them all. It seems that one with such disdain for her books wouldn’t know a thing about “filler” details because you couldn’t have read beyond her first book, or did you;)
    You must realize that you make yourself look a bit “tarnished & envious” when you take the time and effort to write bitter and unkind words about someone and their works. Your review actually shows that you take time out of YOUR life and you devote it to this writer.

  • DC

    Now, that’s pathetic. You have nothing to say to defend Roby’s writing, so you attack me as a person, or whatever you believe me to be. As a reader, I’m doing precisely what this comment space is meant to do: comment on the reviews, and what they discuss. I disagree with the reviewer, and have a right to say so. If you have a defense of Roby’s writing to offer, then let’s see it.

    Incidentally, I’m responding to a review of Sin No More, which is Roby’s *latest* book. After this many books, why hasn’t she learned how to write better than this? In fact, I’ve read some of her earlier stuff, and it *is* better than this, though not by much.

  • T.G.

    DC

    I thought you could tell from my tone that I am one of the thousands that love Ms. Roby and her writings. I love that she’s realistic and compassionate with her characters and the story lines. The details that you deem insignificant only lends to the realism of the story. Why leave them out? Evidently. what she’s doing is working just fine…
    You should check with the New York Times Bestsellers list, is that Kim’s name I see?? By golly it is! Now how did that happen you ask??

    It’s called talent, blessings and hard work.

    Now when you go to get her next book, and you know you will, take the time and enjoy it.
    If you don’t enjoy it, put it down. See how easy that is??
    I wonder, are you a “wanna be writer” or just a hater? Ones like you love to put others down, makes you feel better about your own failings huh?

    Try reading a self help book and get some happiness about yourself. Pain and staleness seeps from your words.
    Yes, you do have a right to voice your opinion and read what you like. I just saw thru your words that all;)
    Try to have a bright day, okay…….

  • DC

    Having a bestseller doesn’t mean a book is any good. Bad books sell all the time, often because an author has generated a following among people who like what she writes. That does not make the work any good; it just means people like it.

    My remarks aren’t about how much Roby sells; it’s about the absence of anything resembling tension, poor grammar, and useless details. Why are they useless? Skilled authors include *meaningful* details that create a setting so we know who characters are, at the very least; often, they’re trying to set up the reader for an event that’s approaching. Roby often does neither. It’s just background filler that just lets us know that a piece of music is playing, there’s wallpaper on the wall, and people do stuff that people do. That’s not realism; that’s clutter.

    No, I’m not an aspiring writer. I’m a reader who reads a great deal of literature and popular fiction, and hates wasting money or time on bad novels. Is that so hard to imagine?

  • BVB

    I Agree 100% with T.G. I am 18 years old, a freshman in college, and in the PAST WEEK I have READ ALL THREE OF THE BOOKS IN THE CURTIS BLACK SERIES! And I must say I LOVE THEM! When I am reading I feel as tho I am a character in the story… sympathizing and relating to the situation they are in…Trashy is a word that is far from describing this book…
    I support Mrs. Roby in her works and I thank her for giving me a chance to realize how IMPORTANT FORGIVENESS & FAITHFULNESS ARE!!

  • K.E.B.

    I agree with the review made by “DC”. I just finished reading “Sin No More”, my first novel by this author. There was a large amount of “filler” in this novel. I found myself skipping through many paragraphs just to get to the point. The conversations between Charlotte and Curtis were redundant. The ending of the novel was rushed, and it seemed a bit amateurish that all questions were answered by one insignificant character, Vivian. I’d like to read the previous books leading up to this story, but I’m a bit wary.

  • Lizz

    I read a lot of books and found this one a challenge from start to finish. Am I the only one who found the Pastor and his wife to be hypocrites, the real villans of the story? Not just adultery, but a full fledged 5-yr relationship? Charlotte having affairs and conceiving children (believed) yet being unforgiving of her husband’s other woman. Lies, deceit, criminal activity, arrogance, typical stereotypical HIV panic (of all places in the church) … and the very clean wrap-up of it all with “others” being responsible for their troubles or w/ ulterior motivations. The pastor and his wife got away w/ it all. Really? Charlotte pays a thug relative to scare a woman, a single mother, and there are NO consequences. Telling Tracy she could not be trusted, yet outright lying to the police and her husband. I like to read and listen to novels/stories that touch on reality and I just kept asking myself, “are you serious?” As an active Christian, I teach and share that we’re human too, however, we are all held accountable, if not on Earth, definitely in Heaven. This could have been a great oppty to do so much more, but I see now that a little prayer does grant “miracles.” And I guess we are also to believe that if we open our own church and write a few books, we can get away w/ anything. I struggled w/ the language too, far from conversational and natural. Unfortunately, I expect that from some authors of color. My first and last book by this author.