by Darnnell Reese

This book is easy to read with very short stories/chapters. The characters are all relatable to just about every kind of kid you’ve seen or known in junior high school. Each character has an insecurity within themselves that they think that no one can see, or just the opposite, they think that everyone else sees them as flawed. The characters in Flake’s book all seem to be African American from inner city environments. Some of the characters are more affluent than others, but the commonality seems to be that all of them are black.

Although the title is Who am I Without Him?, not all of the stories are from the female’s perspective. Flake also provides a very rare and honest view of a young man’s personal insecurities as he tries to win the affections of a young lady that he feels is out of his league.

All of Flake’s stories are occurrences that I can realistically imagine from my own childhood and her stories put me in touch with the young insecure girl that I was at that time. The stories are refreshing and poignant without being preachy. In fact, some of the stories end just after culminating without any kind resolution or revelation as to the final outcome of the character. Though it might appear unfinished, I believe that the author wishes to allow the reader to make their own assumptions.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book as it gives the young reader a view in the mind of what most young adults struggle with regarding their budding sexuality, how they are perceived, questions they struggle with and so on. At the end the book, there is a very precious and honest letter written from an absentee father’s perspective to his young adult daughter that will help even a fully grown woman make wise choices when it comes to men.

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