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That One Moment

by Terese Lorae Smauldon
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Reviewed by: Michelle Bishop
January 2011


That One Moment by Terese Lorae Smauldon takes us into the lives of four women: Lia, Rena, Jasmine and DeeDee. Each of these women is beautiful, smart, and talented, but their weaknesses keep them just inches from the lives they claim to want for themselves.
Lia is the high-powered type-A career woman who just doesn't make time for love in her life. Rena, the earth-mother, has an unconventional relationship with her baby's daddy who she met when he was her student. Jasmine, aka Jas, maintains her lifestyle without a real job courtesy of the men in her life. And, DeeDee is the poor little rich girl who's been ostracized by her family for marrying a black man.

Unlike so many urban novels, none of the main characters were sexually molested at the age of five and pimped out or strung out by the age of twelve. Yet, these women suffer their own slightly less stereotypical difficulties and learn to move through them to build good lives for themselves. When we meet Lia, Rena, Jas, and DeeDee we learn enough to empathize with their situations but maintain sufficient distance to be disgusted when they make poor choices.

Although I generally do not like novels that attempt use alternating chapters to tell the story from various points of view, Smauldon succeeds in allowing each of the women speak for herself without mangling the rhythm of the narrative. There is fairly good character development and the story was well thought out.

Smauldon did miss a wonderful opportunity to explore the Lia's racial self-identity issues more thoroughly, especially when her sister comes into the picture. And, she took the easy way out in her handling of DeeDee's situation – it's way too easy to let the white character suffer for her crime of outside of her race. Nonetheless the tale was highly entertaining and well written. I recommend That One Moment as a nice light read that keeps the reader turning pages to see what will happen next. I look forward to reading more of Smauldon's work.

What did you like about the book?
The story was well-written and kept the reader's attention. The author did not rely on abuse and poverty as the reason for all the troubles in the women's lives.

What did you dislike about the book?
Occasionally, the reasons for the characters' behavior did not seem consistent with what had been revealed to the reader. Rena, in particular, seemed to behave out of character.

What could the author do to improve the book?
It seemed that Smauldon has a line on an interesting aspect of black culture and self-identity with Lia's character in particular. She could have delved into that more to ask interesting questions about what makes one black in America. Also, instead of exploring what makes interracial relationships work or fail, the way the DeeDee's relationship was handled seemed too easy, almost trite. It's clear that Smauldon is capable of much greater depth than what we read here.


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Pierre :
Posted 884 days ago
Mind-bending story from beginning to end. Getting on a train,<a href="http://xklcuycric.com"> vturnoalily</a>, for Auschwitz!!! Then having to see your sister unloading there, uhg! Getting out of one hellish Mengele detail somehow (I'm not sure I understood how they got out of that one; will read again), then somehow, in order to avoid what Rena believed would be a fatal winter, took a chance on another work detail courtesy of the good doctor! And she rolled 7s! Unbelievable and gutsy beyond words. The agony seemed to go on forever: 4 am, raus!!, ugh. I'd have never made it. Lots of lessons in this incredible account. I wish they could've both stayed with us for another century; would've loved to meet them both.
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