2 out of 4 stars
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Mixed Blessings by J.M. Muse is a book about race and the prejudices that come with it. Kimberly is a Jewish Mexican girl looking for love and happiness; she does not consider race to be a vital element in her life choices. Star is a Japanese African American girl, following in her grandmother's and aunt's footsteps trying to become the Queen in a Japanese beauty pageant. Kublai Khan is a minister at the House of Jeremiah; he aims to increase the presence of black people in the US by stating that 'every drop counts', that every person with a black ascendent should identify him- or herself as a black person. He takes it further by organizing mass weddings between black men and Asian women, and encourage procreation and the birthing of mixed race so-called mocha babies to increase the number of black people in the census polls. His final aim is to have the black race as the dominant race.
The book touches on the fascinating topic of racism. It gives viewpoints of both a black extremist (Minister Khan) and a white extremist (Pastor Dalton), as well as the search of a mixed-race girl who is shocked when she is treated differently because of her background when all she wants is to be happy (Kimberly). It is a good reminder that, unfortunately, racism is still very much existing.
I am disappointed with several elements in the book. For starters, the author uses a lot of long heavy sentences, a lot of adjectives, and thereby quite often ends up with mistakes in the text (example: Pastor Dalton opened the meeting the first meeting of the Christian Soldiers with a short prayer).
The individual storylines are not conclusive. Kimberly's visit to her father's family starts promising but is not continued further in the story. There also is a timing issue. Ahmed makes a choice to be with Kimberly, and when the story jumps to the next chapter 2 years later, they already have a two-year-old daughter, and Kimberly is possibly pregnant again. That same daughter is only 20 months old near the end of the book when Kimberly is at the end of a second pregnancy. I am not sure about the message the author wants to get across with the events in Star's life after the beauty pageant. Kublai Khan's behavior towards his lover is mentioned several times, but no background is given as to why he behaves this way or how he is dealing with it.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The writing style does not appeal to me, and the many errors bothered me. The story itself touches upon a complicated reality, and I am sure other readers will be able to enjoy this book.
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