Friday, September 01, 2017

The Talented Ribkins Deeper, More Contemplative Than It Appears (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The Ribkins Family has always been a "blessed" lot, even if their particular talents aren't all that impressive.  During the Civil Rights Movement, members of the African-American clan tried to use their skills to save the world.  That endeavor didn't go so well, so Johnny Ribkins and Franklin, his much younger half-brother, turned their sights on more practical matters—making money.  With Johnny's ability to map anything and Franklin's Spiderman-like climbing skills, they formed a successful burglary venture.

http://www.blogginboutbooks.com/p/baby-steps-to-understanding.htmlWith the glory days behind him, 72-year-old Johnny Ribkins runs an inherited antique shop, where he sells the spoils from his former exploits.  He's not making enough, however, to pay off the $20,000 debt he owes a formidable "businessman."  Johnny's got a week to pay off the debt or he'll be sleeping with the fishes.  With two henchmen following his every move, the thief sets out on a road trip to dig up the treasures he's buried all over northern Florida.  Along the way, he acquires an unexpected passenger—not Franklin, who's since died of a drug overdose, but his brother's 13-year-old daughter, Eloise.

Eloise never knew her father, so it's up to Johnny to show her the Ribkins' dubious legacy.  As the duo drive from hidey hole to hidey hole, visiting family along the way, Johnny encourages his niece to embrace her own talents and use them to do good.  Realizing the irony of his advice, the elder Ribkins must take a hard look at his own behavior.  How far has the great Johnny Ribkins fallen?  Very far, indeed. 

As his deadline quickly approaches, Johnny has to decide if he's got the guts to take one last, desperate shot at redemption.  With armed thugs hot on his tail, a young girl to protect, and his reputation as a Ribkins to uphold, it's time for Johnny to put his money where his mouth is in order to save himself, his family, and the last shred of his dignity.

The plot summary for The Talented Ribkins, a debut novel by Ladee Hubbard, makes the book sound like a zany comedy about a road trip gone hilariously wrong.  Not so.  The story's a much more thoughtful one than its premise implies.  There are some funny parts, sure, but overall, The Talented Ribkins is a serious, contemplative tale about retrieval and reparation.  It's about remembering who you are at your core.  It's about acceptance, loyalty, and love.  It's about making things right, even if it's too little, too late.  While I found the novel to have surprising depth, in the end, it was just an okay read for me.  I didn't adore it, but I did find it a compelling, satisfying read.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything, although the jacket copy says the book is inspired by an essay called "The Talented Tenth" by W.E.B. Du Bois.)

Grade:

 

If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Talented Ribkins from the generous folks at Melville House via those at TLC Book Tours. Thank you!

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If you'd like more opinions on The Talented Ribkins, please visit the following stops on the book's blog tour:

Tuesday, August 8th: Lovely Bookshelf
www.tlcbooktours.comWednesday, August 9th: Wildmoo Books
Friday, August 11th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, August 14th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, August 16th: Lit and Life
Friday, August 18th: Book Lover Book Reviews
Monday, August 21st: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, August 23rd: Too Fond
Friday, August 25th: Broken Teepee
Monday, August 28th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, August 30th: Must Read Faster
Thursday, August 31st: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, September 1st: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, September 5thAll Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, September 6thBook Nerd
Thursday, September 7thRead in Colour
Monday, September 11thSuzy Approved
Wednesday, September 13thPatricia’s Wisdom
Friday, September 15thThoughts on This ‘n That

Would you like a chance to win your own copy of The Talented Ribkins?  If you live in the U.S. or Canada, use the Rafflecopter form below to toss your name into the giveaway hat.  Good luck!
    
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3 comments:

  1. It definitely does sound more like a crazy comedy than a deep, contemplative book. Sort of sounds like Little Miss Sunshine. Did you see that one?

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  2. This one sounds kind of good...although I think I'd be more interested if it was less thoughtful and more humorous. But that just might be the mood I'm in at the moment. :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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