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Anyone who has a Heart    by Jacqueline Powell order for
Anyone who has a Heart
by Jacqueline Powell
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

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*   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Jacqueline Powell's Anyone who has a Heart is set in her hometown of St. Louis and traces the romantic pursuits of three African American women. Theresa is battling alcoholism, the breakdown of her current relationship, and nightmares and memories of her deceased firefighter husband; Lainey is newly married and desperately wants a child, but fears that her devoted husband is having an affair; and gorgeous Zenobia, who runs her ex's hip nightclub, is trying to win sole custody of their young daughter, turn her career around, and find a soul-mate to settle down with.

The stories are well interwoven and we receive most of our information through the thoughts and deeds of Theresa and Vince. He is her former lover, who is himself in emotional turmoil as he tries to come to terms with his past (an abusive father) and present - the realization that he feels enormous pleasure from his occasional homosexual encounters.

Jacqueline Powell makes it plain that the only way to feel completely happy and at ease with ourselves is to come to terms with our inner secrets and accept who and what we are. This is a great ideal; however, her narrative does not quite ring true: The chapters written from Theresa's and Vince's points of view are not unique enough. They blend together making it necessary to occasionally remind ourselves who the narrator is. Also, while the Afro-American prose is no doubt authentic, it makes it hard for non-Afro-American readers to comprehend the story.

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