With the phrase “He’s Just Not That Into You” permeating households, Barner Hill hollers back with a resounding “What Do You Want From Me?”
Hill takes on myths and stereotypes and shows that women and men alike can share the same issues in love and relationships until they grow up, address problems in their own lives and then ask adult questions of the person they’re seeing.
With the three believable characters Hill draws in familiar Chicago landscapes, the author shows that status doesn’t eliminate the whirlwind of confusion and chaos that is relationships.
In Mysti, we follow a magazine employee who moonlights as a radio host counseling others on relationship issues. She lives with her best friend, Taurence, a thorn in the side of her boyfriend, Johnson, who delves into both business deals and ladies with rapacious cunning. He uses Mysti to maneuver his way into a coveted VP position at his company with the excuse that Mysti doesn’t give him what he needs.
Mysti’s friends are in the same boat with similar relationship woes that neither is aware of. Carma is the successful owner of a clothing shop with a rich clientele. But Carma lacks self-esteem and wraps herself up in an unfulfilling relationship with a married man who enjoys the thrill of sleeping with her and that no strings are attached. Carma, inadvertently, is modeling poor choices in a relationship for her niece, who works as her assistant in the shop.
Carma gets a lot of warnings from her friend Shae, a married woman and mother of two. A woman sleeping with Shae’s husband calls Shae and lays claim to her man. Both Shae and her husband face tough looks at divorce, parenthood and loss.
The men in this book are not exempt from the hard lessons that Hill encourages female characters to learn. Taurence is a handsome and successful salesman with women throwing themselves at his feet. He carries himself like a gentlemen working hard and treating the women around him well. When an old friend comes back into his life, he is totally unaware of the effect that he has had on her and it takes the attempted murder of someone close to him for him to see his value of other’s lives.
For a forum on relationship issues, the author uses a radio talk show. Miscellaneous characters address such matters as AIDS, men’s infidelity and women’s indecisiveness.
Without working in sex or street themes, Hill looks at the average person who goes to work every day and strives to make a living and find happiness in life. There are no thugs. There’s no hip-hop. Just encouragement for women: Ask big-girl questions of men and don’t be afraid of the results.
Editor’s note: 4/22/10
This book has since been updated by the author with a new title and cover.