Sweet Jane by Joanne Kukanza Easley


Today I'm reviewing a book by a fellow Black Rose Writer. Sweet Jane is the award winning story by Joanne Kukanza Easley. I was drawn to its Texas setting and fell in love with the main character, little Janie, on page one.


By age six, Jane, a lonely and precocious child, knows vodka makes Mama mean. After years of dodging her drunken mama, Jane runs away at sixteen—during the Summer of Love. Despite seventeen years of keeping secrets while searching for love in dysfunctional relationships, Jane looks good on paper: married, graduate school, coin-carrying member of AA. But her carefully constructed life is crumbling. Returning for Mama’s funeral catapults her back to the events that made her the woman she is. 

My Review:

Sweet Jane by Joanne Kukanza Easley
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Published: March 2020
Genre: Women's fiction
Pages: 267
Available: Paperback, ebook, 

Sex: đŸ’“nothing graphic
Violence: none

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this by by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot in Brief: It's 1984, Jane lives a good life, married to a successful psychiatrist, working on her own advanced degree, she seems to have it all. A phone call rocks her world. Her mother, who she hasn't seen or spoken to in 17 years, is dead. Her father pleads with her to return to her West Texas hometown of Odessa for the funeral. Jane is forced to face her past while new revelations add to the pain of the childhood she thought was locked behind a solid wall of denial. 

The Characters: I had a real push pull relationship with Jane. I loved her as a child, growing up semi-wild in a dysfunctional household. Her mother, Martha, is a raging alcoholic, her mostly absent father shows more concern for his wife than his neglected children. A death robs her of her best friend and her world fractures with the loss and betrayal of those who are supposed to love her. She is so well drawn and such a sympathetic character. Grown up Jane is full of conflicts. A recovered drug addict with a backlog of broken relationships she seems to have finally settled down, but she's not happy. It was interesting to watch her unravel as she confronted her past and then worked to put herself back together.  Jane learns that you can run from your past and survive, but you have to turn and face it to live. 

The Writing: The book is well written and well edited. The narrative is heavy on dialogue. I really enjoyed little Janie and interactions with family and friends. But the author does a wonderful job of describing Odessa, an oil town in far West Texas and the 1980s Austin. When an author finds her voice, magic can happen on the pages of her story. From the opening scene, little Janie roped me in with her Texas twang and keep me turning the page until the end. 

Overall: I don't normally read books in this genre but I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed the story and its satisfying conclusion. I really can't think of anything to complain about!

Recommendation: I think anyone who appreciates coming of age stories, stories of redemption and forgiveness and books that explore family dynamics will love this book. 

Rating: I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars


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