Raven Leilani – Luster

Luster was another book I had a difficult time putting down. It was like witnessing something you shouldn’t be privy to and not being able to look away. These people had issues!

Thing is, all people have issues and this book was very much a weird peek into the dysfunction that can happen when other people are brought into a marriage and the nonsense we will allow ourselves to endure when we have no place else to go.

Edie is young and struggling financially, so I mostly give her a pass for the shenanigans, but the shenanigans were many. She constantly makes bad decisions, starting with sleeping around the office with literally (almost)every man (and one woman, if I remember correctly) at her job. I won’t fault her for getting into a relationship with a married man. If the couple has an open marriage, there’s no reason she should feel guilty about being involved with him.

However, how are you just going to walk up into somebody’s house like that? Especially when one of the “open relationship rules” is to not go to the house. But, also, how are you going to leave your front door open when you’re upstairs cleaning or whatever? Not only can strangers walk into your house (like Edie did), but stray cats, snakes, racoons… Who even does that?

The wife was in over her head anyway. She probably didn’t even want the open marriage to begin with. Her obsession with Edie and how she invited her to live in their house when her husband (Edie’s boyfriend) wasn’t home. Yes, this white couple’s Black child needed some Black love in her life, and it was nice watching her relationship with Edie grow, but living in your married boyfriend’s house with his wife and child is weird. The wife’s treatment of Edie is weird. Did she really think Edie would stop sleeping with her husband because she asked her to (and put a roof over her head)?

If you don’t want an open marriage, just say that.

I don’t know, y’all. I was thoroughly entertained, though.

Pick it up or don’t. These people are a mess and I felt awkward with the interactions throughout the book, like I was the one doing something wrong (chuckles internally).

It’s like, I don’t judge a book by its characters, or even its storyline most of the time. I judge a book by its ability to keep me from putting it down. My reading habits aren’t nearly as indiscriminate as my movie-watching habits (I will watch almost anything), but I still find myself choosing books just because someone else said it was good, or I liked the cover, or the title spoke to me. Even when I read the book description, by the time my Overdrive hold becomes available, I’ve forgotten what the book is about anyway and go into it blindly. I kind of like that, though. I get to surprise myself with new stories and characters that frustrate me while they intrigue me.

I missed my download window for The Personal Librarian, so now I have to wait until the 16th to get it back. That’s my next read. I also have no idea what it’s about. I just liked the title and the cover art (yes, I do judge a book by its cover sometimes).

Happy reading, y’all!