Mixed Emotions. Intrigue. Admiration. Horror. Respect. So many adjectives to describe my feelings towards Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls by Keith Kareem Williams. The story is a thought-provoking roller-coaster that will leave you speechless.
The synopsis reads: In the middle of the night, our unnamed protagonist wakes to find Diana’s gun pointed at this head and he recognizes bloody murder in her eyes. While facing a scorned woman’s wrath, many of his past entanglements replay in his mind. Memories of women he has loved or refused to love surface like ghosts from the grave to haunt what could be his last moments. As he tries to reason with her for the sake of everything he has to live for, he realizes that there is so much that he deserves to pay for. Love, guns, sex and bullets can all be deadly in the wrong hands.
Ultimately, the best word I can use to describe this work is raw. It is truthful, but the truth sometimes hurts. I was curious about how the author thought of the title, but as I journeyed through the book, it became obvious. The story opens with a man whose name is never revealed being awakened by the threat of death at the hands of a woman he scorned. What did he do that was so bad that made her want to kill him? He recalls the relationships he’s had with various women over the years, I guess you could say his life flashed before his eyes, and it becomes apparent exactly what he did wrong.
He presents each woman, not particularly in a derogatory manner, as fragile. There’s a reverence for both their gender and their vulnerability, which I assume is his reason for referring to them as goddesses, even though a couple of the women could be considered true psychopaths. The concrete wall would be the protagonist. His unwillingness to completely give himself to anyone or to fall for anything makes him unmovable, almost (and I use that word lightly) coming across as monstrous and savage-like. Each flashback is an analysis of the relationship with each woman, the women themselves and the protagonist. Though the flashbacks are analytical, they’re also entertaining in a train-wreck sort of way. Why do I say that? Well, one woman is a stripper who has been around the proverbial (and probably literal) block. Another woman gives a new definition to the word “clingy”. Then, there is Diana with the gun asking the question that I am sure many women and men alike have asked of their former lovers: Why don’t you want me? As he expressed to a woman other than Diana, “You’re one of my pretty blackbirds…you circle…you wait…for me to give in…you’d perch on my body and feast on everything I had to give…After my heart, my soul and my bones were picked clean, you would just fly away but I’d still be dead.” p. 61
Never does the protagonist attempt to describe himself as better than what he is. He is a ladies’ man, though the type of ladies he attracts are questionable. He is a know-it-all. He is selfish. “It wasn’t like I had known Raven for very long but it’s a very uncomfortable feeling when you realize how little you really know about a person that you’ve been extremely intimate with.” p. 75. But, to top it all off, which is his most redeeming quality and actually garnered a lot of respect for me, he is honest. He acknowledges the fact that it is entirely possible that he deserves Diana’s wrath.
The author’s writing style is one that you easily become immersed in. Many of the details of his various interactions were graphic and almost (again I use that word lightly) too realistic. His ability to describe scenes to create a vivid image made me feel as if I truly were a fly on the wall and that I was actually spying on the protagonist and his female companions. His use of metaphors is both sickening and brilliant. “She resembled a blood splattered angel.” p. 202. Nothing is sugar-coated in this book. Everything (Everything!) unfolds in front of your eyes and situations that would normally be private are brought completely to the forefront, not as a story, but more like a narrative/memoir and the gritty details had me feeling like I was witnessing business that had nothing to do with me, but I couldn’t look away. I absolutely loved it!
My only gripe as far as the story is concerned, though I understand why Williams might have written it the way that he did, was the one woman who might have, I guess one could say, tamed him. The one woman who seemed like she was his match, indeed. It felt like he rushed through his memory of her because she was the one unconquered. She actually had his heart. I would have liked to have seen more interaction between the protagonist and this particular woman, but I got the impression that she was the one he was most sensitive about out of all of his lady-friends he recalled. His relationship with who I will call “The Special Lady” leads me to my next point which has nothing to do with her: as messed up as many people might consider his thinking is in regards to how he deals with frightening, possibly life-altering situations, there’s actually a lot of logic in it, which makes me question myself. In the thoughts that Williams provoked my mind raced to some morbid places that were completely logical if all one keeps is self-preservation in mind. There is a scene in the book where a woman (not “The Special Lady”) offers some extremely dangerous threats, yet he turns his back on her and walks away. Without giving away too much of that particular story, the action of turning his back on a crazed woman is bold, dangerous and crazy in itself. When the reader knows the full context of the scene, the boldness, danger and craziness are intensified.
This book took me to so many different places and I’d be writing forever trying to describe them all. Everything from the writing itself to the formatting of the actual book is absolutely beautiful and well-thought out. This is the first book I’ve read by Keith Kareem Williams, but it most certainly won’t be my last! I rate it a 4.5/5 stars.
Glass Goddesses, Concrete Walls is available in both print and digital format on Amazon. You can also purchase autographed paperback copies from Williams himself by reaching out to him on any of his social media pages.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/reemafterdark/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReemAfterDark
Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/107187147376162217446
His blog – http://reemafterdark.blogspot.com/
Check out my blog where I share my poetry, short fiction and books at letarawrites.wordpress.com