He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not! by Tracy L. Darity
What is one of the most misunderstood words in the English language? You guessed it...L-O-V-E! Everyone has had their fair share of the trials and tribulations, joys and pleasures of love. Sometimes the love is good, and sometimes it’s very, very, bad! In Tracy L. Darity’s novel, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not!, the ramifications of falling in love with the wrong men - and the growth that comes with this process - serve as the basis of a novel that spans ten years, two children, a divorce, and marriage!
The book begins by introducing Khadejah Johnson, a high-school senior from a tight-knit family. Khadejah’s mother and father expect great things from their daughter and had “…sacrificed much to ensure that money would be readily available for each child to attend college” (Darity 3). Khadejah fully expects to follow the traditional life path of career, marriage, and then children, but a betrayal by her first love - Terrance Newsome - propels her into the arms of Justice Williams, a man ten years her senior! Soon she realizes that Justice is not ready for commitment and even his own mother expresses disapproval of Justice’s treatment of Khadejah. Mrs. Williams asserts that Justice is “…obviously not ready for a real relationship” and cautions him to “…be satisfied with what you have” (91). But as they say love is blind and Khadejah continues to accept Justice’s flagrant mistreatment until she finally reaches her breaking point!
Now with two young children in tow, the lion's share of the story follows the ups and downs of Khadejah’s quest to find a loving relationship as a single mother. Like many women, the men that Khadejah attracts are a direct reflection of her current state of mind: when she’s at her loneliest after leaving Justice, she attracts Michael, a confused man; when she believes that having career success is most important, she attracts Aaron, the business man; and when her sexuality peaks, she attracts Mylan, the boy toy! Each man - despite their varying personalities -teaches Khadejah valuable life lessons regarding trust, confidence, and self worth, and they force her to understand that she must love and respect her self in order to be loved and respected by someone else.
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not! is an exciting novel, as Tracy chronicles a woman’s mental, spiritual, and sexual transformation from girl to woman while also incorporating the man’s role in this growth. As I read, I found myself pleading with Khadejah to see the true colors of these men and to accept nothing but the best for her life! And I agreed with Khadejah’s best friend who stated that, “…people generally show you who they are. All you need to do is take off the blinders and see what you get” (226). In her, I saw myself and other women who - at one time or another – may have loved a man so dearly that nothing he did or said or showed us would cause us to leave! It was not until we let go of the notion that someone else is responsible for our happiness did we finally (hopefully) move on to more positive relationships.
Tracy’s well-crafted story of one woman’s personal relationship journey provided many life lessons for the reader. For me, though, the ultimate message in this novel is that we, as women, must develop our spiritual selves and learn who we are and what we want from life. Then and only then can we attract our true soul mate. It is a lesson that I know to be true!
Peace : )