Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review - "Harlem Boyz" by Armani Williams



I've spoken to Armani Williams many months in advance when he began telling me about his second book. He told me about how it was a complete difference from his first novel Scandalicious. He told me how he was putting his heart into this second book. Now I had the opportunity to read the new book called Harlem Boyz.

Harlem Boyz is a urban novel set in New York City, most specifically Harlem. It's tells the story of four friends named Shawn, Damon, Kevin, and Malcolm as they journey on their quest for love in the city. They are attractive, intelligent, and established men who share all their secrets with each other.  Throughout the course of the book, they each go through own struggle, be it the pains of infidelity, physical abuse at the hands of a lover, or burning for another woman's husband with a passion and intensity that refuses to be doused.

The book incorporates themes such as friendships, relationships, sex, abuse, self-esteem, insecurities, fear of change, etc. 

I will admit. I was very skeptic, for I am personally not a fan of urban literature. I haven't read this genre in nearly five years.

I don't know how, but Armani Williams had me spellbound to the book during the three weeks I was reading it. I read most of the book on the train while on my way to college classes. Every time I walked in and sat in my chair, I took the book out of my bag, hoping to read the next chapter before my stop came.

There was one character in particular that caught most of my attention. Mostly because the character reminded me so much of myself. I almost assumed that Armani was secretly writing about me due to our interactions with each other, but decided to make the character older.

Once I finished it, I told myself "Why doesn't our community know about this book yet. This is the book of the year for all of us." 

Harlem Boyz truly incorporate 21st century themes on love and friendships. I often thought this book was the gay best friend to Terry McMillan's novel Waiting To Exhale For a Jersey man, Armani was also able to successfully tell a Harlem story. I was also intrigued by the real life figures and events that were incorporated such as the pride events and publications like DBQ magazine.

In the end, Harlem Boyz is a must read for everyone when it comes to gay literature. With a successful support system in readership and a huge media press coverage over this novel, Harlem Boyz could well on it's way be the book of 2014 for the LGBT community. 

No comments: