Loving Donovan is the third novel I’ve picked up from Bernice L. McFadden. And I surely won’t wait so long to pick up another. I previously read Glorious and then Gathering of Waters. I really enjoyed both of these books. In light of Loving Donovan being re-released this year with a modern fresh new cover, I was enticed to pick it up. Loving Donovan, as all of McFadden’s work, shares some unique characteristics that define particularities in her writing style. She manages to balance character development and plot to a fault, particularly in this one. The two principal characters Campbell and Donovan are developed from childhood to adulthood. We are given the chance to know them integrally. The book is split into 3 main sections: Her, Him, and Them. Through Campbell’s and Donovan’s development, the story develops too, while we are introduced to a myriad of spirited characters and some thought-provoking situations.
McFadden is clearly adept in keeping the reader entertained, captivated, and on our toes to try to figure out what’s going to happen next. The rich characters, life situations, and language all wrapped up in such a small book and saying so much is a feat. You will laugh. You will be profoundly saddened and you will be rooting for love the entire time. This book is about love of all types – family, friendship, romantic. It’s also about how one becomes who they become and how family and unexpected encounters shape a big part of who they become and how they can change one’s life profoundly. It is part coming of age story and part love story. I think that’s what makes it so special. I do feel that if you haven’t read any of McFadden’s work you should definitely give this one a try. She is a contemporary African-American writer that I feel should be getting a lot more press. I’ll surely continue to read through her many treasures to discover more of her touching memorable characters. As a matter of fact, next month I’ll probably be picking up Sugar and This Bitter Earth, a two-part story about a young African-American prostitute called Sugar Lacey who moves to Arkansas to start a new life.