Title: Saving Ruby King
Author: Catherine Adel West
Genre: Literary fiction
Narrators: Adam Lazarre-White, Imani Parks, Kim Staunton, Lloyd Roberson II, Ron Butler, Terra Strong Lyons
Length: ~10 hours (352 pages)
Publisher: Park Row
Release Date: June 16, 2020
Source: Giveaway win
Triggers: domestic violence, attempted suicide, rape/molestation, murder
Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.
When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.
Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.
An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.
Saving Ruby King is a multigenerational family drama about a Black community on the South Side of Chicago. The Church is a powerful institution of the community and even serves as a POV character, bearing witness to the community’s secrets across generations.
This book shows how dark secrets perpetuate pain and abuse in generation after generation. After the murder of Alice King, some of the community’s ugliest secrets are brought to light.
I was sometimes confused by the jumps between narrators and across time, so I was not fully immersed in the story. I think this was a result of the format in which I read this book, so I would recommend reading the actual book instead of listening to the audio to get the most out of this story. The story includes many heavy topics and is intensely emotional with some disturbing scenes. This was a strong debut, and I look forward to future works from this author.