||Mark O'Neal Books
||February 13, 2012
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Mark O'Neal Books
The story takes place in a post-recession Atlanta in the not so distant future.
Greer Matthews was a gifted student enrolled at Clark University who had just wrapped up a stressful third year of school. His relationship with his high school sweetheart Rosalyn Coleman ended on a sour note, and he got rejected for a summer internship at a local sports marketing firm. However, his life would take a turn for the better when he finds a new love and gets hired at the world’s largest and most successful firm. Will Greer live happily ever after or is his good fortune too good to be true?
Jennifer strolled back to her dormitory reading a text from one of her sorority sisters, Pamela Brown. Pamela needed fifty dollars from their account to buy some extra food for the party later on that night. Jennifer texted the account number of their savings account to her and sat on front steps of the dorm. She looked up and saw Rosalyn and David walking together holding hands and heading in the direction of the cafeteria. Her mood quickly changed, and she decided to confront them.
“What are you doing, Roz?” Jennifer asked. “The sheets aren’t even cold in Greer’s bed, and you’re already slummin’ with this dude.”
“What I do with David is none of your goddamn business, bitch!” Rosalyn shouted.
“I don’t give a shit about what you do with David,” Jennifer added, “but Greer is my friend, and what you’re doing is fucked up.”
“He wanted his space, so I’m giving him all the space he needs,” Rosalyn said.
“Hey, I don’t have no beef with you, Jen,” David interjected, “but you need to back off and mind your business....”
“Whatever, man,” Jennifer said. “Greer is my business, and you need to get some. Stop trying to push up on other people’s property because it’s not a good look.”
“Fuck her, David,” Rosalyn said. “I’m not anybody’s goddamn property, stupid ass....”
“No, fuck you, Roz,” Jennifer said. “You’re so damn stuck-up. Greer is under so much pressure, and all you can think about is yourself. You don’t deserve him.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Rosalyn said. “You can have his lame ass...I know you want him for yourself anyway, bitch.”
Rosalyn and David walked away, and Jennifer stood in front of her dorm for a brief moment to cool off before going inside. It took every bit of willpower she had not to punch Rosalyn in the face. They disliked each other from the moment Greer introduced them. Rosalyn was aloof and condescending in their first meeting, and this made Jennifer feel extremely awkward. She tried to make small talk with Rosalyn, but Rosalyn’s one-word answers made conversation impossible.
Jennifer loathed the very sight of Rosalyn from that point on, and Rosalyn would always act as though she was oblivious to Jennifer’s presence. Jennifer pulled a small bottle of water out of her purse and took a sip. She then leaned on the front banister and looked on. Some students had already packed their belongings and were leaving for the summer, but Jennifer had decided to stay for summer school. Her goal was to finish undergrad as soon as possible so that she could pursue her MBA.
Jennifer was from Athens, a small metropolis about sixty miles northeast of Atlanta and home of the University of Georgia. She opted to go to Clark for the full academic scholarship the school offered, and she also wanted to get out of Athens to discover her own identity. Joining the Sigma Gamma Thetas second semester of the school year was one of many steps she took to find herself over the course of three years.
Pamela spotted Jennifer sitting on the steps and walked toward her. She observed Jennifer staring off in the direction of the cafeteria with her arms folded and a scowl that would scare Mike Tyson—a clear sign that she was upset about something.
“What’s wrong, Jen?” Pamela asked.
“Nothing,” Jennifer answered.
“Something. You look like you want to strangle someone.”
“You need to let that go. She is who she is. You can’t change that.”
“She crossed the line, Pam. I’ve never done anything to her, but she always goes out of her way to disrespect me. I’m trying my very best to keep it classy....”
“She jealous of you...you got in and she didn’t. You’re pretty and she’s not so pretty. You’re smart and she barely got a C in the calculus class we had together. Should I go on?”
“No, I get your point, but it isn’t even about me. I just saw her with David holding hands...Greer doesn’t deserve that.”
“You got a thing for him, don’t you?”
“Girl, we’re just friends. I don’t even have time for a relationship.”
“Who are you trying to convince? Me or yourself?”
“Whatever, Pam. Did you go the bank yet?”
“I’m on my way in a few minutes. I have to go back to my room for something. Keep your head up, girl, and I’ll see you later.”
“Okay, see you tonight.”
Pamela left to go to her room, and Jennifer went inside her dorm. Jennifer’s building was co-ed with a mixture of mostly juniors and seniors. A few underclassmen on scholarship lived in the building also. She decided that it was a good time for a workout, so she went to her room to change. She planned on starting with the punching bag—a small consolation to Rosalyn’s face.
Review by George Smith
This satisfying story portrays a sympathetic young African-American man venturing forth into the world to try to find career and financial success and love and romance after some of his earlier expectations in both arenas have been utterly shattered and stomped into the ground, as happens all too often to too many people, but especially to young men of color.
The drama and suspense of seeing his path unfold holds the reader's interest, as does the rich tapestry of the portrayal of his developing relationship with his new love, a young woman as sensual, deep, and complex as you could imagine. Will his lust and desire for her help or hinder his other endeavors, and is she really everything she seems?
Interwoven into this already multifaceted narrative is an element of crime, a corrupting presence often not far under the surface in the world of business and commerce today. The story proceeds on several levels and the various themes develop themselves simultaneously, as they do in real life. The protagonist is unable to call a "time-out" on the maddening daily rush of other events that transpire in the world to just focus on one thing at a time, like his romantic relationship. Life, they say, is what happens while you're making other plans. Yet, without good plans, some would respond, life can just pass you by.
This is the story of a young man determined not to let that happen to him, no matter what effort and sacrifice is required to achieve his goals. A realistic portrayal, and a riveting and satisfying read.
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