I read Renee Swindle’s most recent titles, Shake Down the Stars and A Pinch of Ooo La La, and was blown away by both of them. Had I read Please, Please, Please first, it’s likely that I would have dismissed her as another fly by night author. Written in 2000, there’s a 13 year stretch between Swindle’s first book and Shake Down the Stars. The amount of growth that her writing underwent in the meantime is apparent. And that’s not to say that Please…isn’t a decent a read, but it was a bit lacking in the depth that readers find in her latter works.
Babysister, the lead character, is a spoiled brat. A witness to her mother’s death at a young age, she has used it to her advantage. All she has to do is bring a tear to her eye or invoke the name of her late mother and her father caves. Her best friend, Deborah, has been by her side since childhood and bends to Babysister’s wishes just like her father. What Babysister wants, she gets and when she wants Deborah’s new boyfriend, Deborah is just enough of a doormat to let her have him.
I got sick of Babysister’s antics early on in the book, but I was just as tired of her family and friends. Her brother was annoying as hell. If Twitter had existed when this book was written, he would have been a founding father of Hotep Twitter, just wrapped up in misogyny, homophobia and being loud, proud and wrong about everything. Darren, Deborah’s boyfriend, is trifling as hell, no matter how fine the package he’s wrapped in is. And Deborah is just stupid. No matter how many times and how deeply Babysister stabs her in the back, she keeps coming back for more.
Please, Please, Please had a very 90s R & B feel to it, if that makes sense. I could totally see Babysister riding around listening to Rumpshaker and wearing Cross Colours. By the way, I hated her name, like seriously hated it. I kept hoping that at some point her real name would be revealed, but nope. Every last person from her coworkers at the bank to customers at the restaurant called her Babysister, which was just a little weird and a smidge creepy.
There were good characters and good storylines in the book. Please don’t skip over the book just because of a few annoying people. I’m just glad to see the progress Swindle has made from 2000 to now.
Published: June 2000