Monday, May 16, 2016

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter Review

I didn't have any expectations going into 32 Candles, but what I got was a very enjoyable read. Carter gives her readers a strong heroine that comes into her strengths believably; faults and all. Davie survives the horrific combination of neglect and abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother whose main means of support is received through the many men who frequently come in and out of their home. Davie suffers through the abuse and taunts of her peers because of her poverty as well as being a dark skinned little girl. An incident spurs Davie's self imposed muteness that eventually provides her protection from the outside world. By shutting off her voice, she is no longer a particularly interesting target and it makes her different enough for most people to leave her alone. Davie learns that the best way to not be disappointed in life is to not want anything. If you don't desire anything then you can't be hurt when nothing is given to you. This works for Davie until theFarrell family moves to town and Davie dares to dream of having someone unattainable. 

Thanks to Davie's one indulgence, Molly Ringwald movies from the 1980's, Davie believes that sometimes the strange girls can win in love. The Farrell children turn Davie's high school upside down with their money, perception of class, and facade of big city sophistication. Not only does their family own a large African American hair care business, but their father has political aspirations as well. Although Davie once again finds herself a victim of targeted cruelty, she doesn't see herself as someone who has to continue to suffer in silence. When Davie runs, it's both brave and reckless, but it turns out to be the best thing that she could have done for herself. Davie was way too young to run the way that she did, and the limitless dangers that could have found her is frightening. Yet what she finds on the other side is a self made family, a talent that she didn't know that she had, and the ability to see herself as much more than "Monkey Night". 

Carter provided an interesting and realistic cast of characters and a story that is entertaining. 32 Candles is exactly what I want in women's fiction. Although the beginning starts off with Davie being pretty young, 32 Candles does not in anyway read like a YA/NA story. Yes, their is angst and unrequited love, but there was not one eye roll moment for me in this one. For me, the best part of the book is when it's revealed that Davie isn't as submissive and forgiving as she seems. She gets hers back in unexpected and inventive ways. Her payback has consequences that she didn't expect and she has to decide what she is going to do about the part she played in manipulating other people's lives. 32 Candles takes an interesting look into the life of a young woman who if valiantly trying to avoid, but can't help accepting, 'invitations to crazy' no matter how hard she tries. 

Happy Reading!



Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname "Monkey Night," and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.

Davie is finally a million miles from where she started—until she bumps into her former obsession, James Farrell. To Davie’s astonishment, James doesn’t recognize her, and she can’t bring herself to end the fantasy. She lets him fall as deeply in love with her as she once was with him. But is life ever that simple? Just as they’re about to ride off into the sunset, the past comes back with a vengeance, threatening to crush Davie’s dreams—and break her heart again.


  1. I'm going to add this to my wishlist. I like that it's not too angsty but idk given her situation...whew!


Find Book Goodness (I'm an Amazon Affiliate!)