DNF: Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Friday, November 11, 2016

Source: Purchased
Format: Audio Book (Audible)
Series: NA
Genre: African American Fiction
Heat: None
Rating: None

My Review

I really wanted to like this book but couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I feel like the author missed out some key issues in Queen Sugar. Now I know the book itself was going to be different from the TV show that was picked up by OWN and several things are vastly different here. Nova, the older sister from the show is not a character in the book. Charley and Ralph Angel are the only children of Ernest Bordelon. Blue, Ralph Angel’s son is in the book and Micah is a teenage girl. Charley inherits the sugar cane farm after Ernest passes away. Ralph Angel gets nothing, there is friction between father and son and this leads to a troublesome relationship between Ralph Angel and his family. Also Ernest Bordelon wasn’t the staple figure he was on the show, which again I didn’t think the book would be the same but IMO Ernest could have been a better father to his son. I strongly felt he abandoned Ralph Angel at very key moments in his life and also left him with a mother who was battling mental illness. The author never explained why Ernest wasn’t as close as he was to Ralph Angel as he was to Charley and I got all the way up to Chapter 19 before I decided to quit. Ernest’s life never really was explained, I mean there was some reflection of his childhood and how he grew up, when he left Louisiana but why leave your child behind especially with a co-parent who was dealing with her own issues? He also knew Ralph Angel wanted to be with him and by the time he decided to bring his son out to his new family in LA, it was too late. Ralph Angel: Ralph Angel is made out to be a bully and asshole in Queen Sugar and he was. But Ralph Angel clearly had abandonment issues and I suspect some his mother’s mental illness, he was IMO bipolar. Ralph Angel battled drug addiction, the lost of his wife and is now raising his son Blue alone. It seemed Ralph Angel was always alone and the Bordelon family instead of helping him blamed him for his problems. His only saving grace was Blue, which he adored and at times his grandmother Ms. Honey, the family matriarch. But Ms. Honey tended to coddle Ralph Angel and this led to at times a difficult relationship. Ralph Angel loved his grandmother dearly but because his coping skills were pretty much non-existent, he didn’t know who to deal with things. He at times handled situations with anger which led to him doing some terrible things and his family resented him for them. Charley: Charley had her own set of issues but the Bordelon family was the least of them. Moving to a new state, dealing with a teenager who is having a hard time adjusting and taking on a business she knows nothing about is wearing her down. And although I liked her determination not to quit (because her mother and the other sugar cane farmers were just ready for her to fail), Charley at times was her own worst enemy. Her relationships with some folks in the book was headache inducing for me. From her issues with dealing with farm, her relationship with her daughter was shaky and that IMO was her failure to have a proper mother-daughter relationship with Micah. I feel at times she wanted to be friends with her daughter but then when she wanted to discipline her, Micah rebelled. Also, her inability to deal with Ralph Angel grinded my gears. If I had not seen my brother since I was 10 years old, bet believe I would have worked a little harder in having some type of relationship with him even if he was being a asshole. But Charley instantly sided with the bulk of her family and deemed Ralph Angel a problem and that I just could not understand. She intentionally left him out of the farm and she never looked at it as a problem. She never tried to understand that maybe her brother might feel some type of way because their father had already left him out of his will. She IMO didn’t want to see that maybe there was some justification to Ralph Angel’s feelings. She was truly annoying at times. Bottom Line: I listened all the way up to chapter 19 and I just feel like the author didn’t do enough explaining of things. I mean up to that point, we should have known why Ernest felt the need to leave Louisiana, why he and Ralph Angel didn’t have a normal father/son relationship. Ralph Angel’s mother was his high school sweetheart and I understand falling out of love with people, trust me I do but what does your son have to do with a failed marriage? Why did he take to Charley more than he did Ralph Angel? Was it because Charley was the child he felt he didn’t fail? His marriage to her mother didn’t last either? So? I get this book was Charley’s story but too much time was spent on things that to me didn’t matter especially giving at times we got Ralph Angel’s POV during the book. Yes, I wanted to know what was going on with the farm and how Charley was adjusting and learning but it was overkill at times. There wasn’t enough time spent on mending the relationship between Charley and Ralph Angel, they both suffered a lost. Why not give the readers a working relationship between brother and sister especially giving the deep rift that was between them. It seemed Charley wanted to work on her relationships with everyone else, but Ralph Angel? Nope. Also, I mean what family so easily dismisses another like the way the Bordelon’s did with Ralph Angel? They all knew his mother had issues and I know they knew Ernest was not father of the year. Yes Ralph Angel had anger issues but it seemed this family did not want to touch upon the reasons as to why Ralph Angel was the way he was. By chapter 19, we should have gotten more than we did instead of me listening to Charley self destruct in on herself. I’m sure maybe they moved forward with things as the book progressed, but at 19 chapters in...I truly didn’t care anymore. The situation with Ralph Angel made me feel some type of way and I had to stop. Because this man was gentle with his son, he couldn’t have been all that bad. I see that this book has gotten wonderful reviews but for me, it was meh. If you purchased it...give it a go. You might feel differently. 

Grown ass woman, Mother, reader, drinker of the red wines, not so serious makeup enthusiast and finally...a habitual procrastinator. I read just about everything but I really do love my romances. HEA’s are optional because hell sometimes, Prince Charming really is just a frog. Don’t asked if I finished *that book* yet...because I didn’t.
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  1. I think this would have driven me nuts to since there seems to be a lot stuff thrown out there, but not much of an explanation for motives. And the Charley girl doesn't sound like a character I'd get behind enough to want to see it through.

    Sometimes its a good call to just let a book go. Thanks for your thoughts on it, Sharonda!

    1. Thanks Sophia. I wished I could have enjoyed this one more...espescially with the show on TV :(