Book Review: Seven Days in June
Me to myself: “I have to write about this book”
It’s been a while since I’ve had the urge to write something other than an IG post review for a book. The last blog post I wrote was for Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, which unexpectedly wrecked me and fast forward two months later and I’m back at it again. This time with an adult contemporary romance.
Tia William’s Seven Days in June was not what I was expecting. I bought this book on a whim. I’m an absolute slut for books with a beautiful cover so seeing two dark skinned Black people on a cover, with body language exuding a desperate need for one another, I HAD to get the book. (Sidenote: I skimmed a review and the person said that the book cover was the “ugliest effing thing” they’ve ever seen and in that moment I knew that people are entitled to their wrong opinions)
“Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone's surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York's Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can't deny their chemistry-or the fact that they've been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.”
The hopeless romantic in me was reeling! A love story about two writers who are also hopeless romantics, sign me up.
What did I love about this book: it is unapologetically, irrecoverably, and defiantly Black. Tia William’s intentionally name drops so many Black authors, celebrities, and mixes in Black culture references. Even the very name of Eva’s daughter in the book is named after Black authors. The book was comical in the characters’ dialogue while the backdrop of the story tackled so many important issues. There were so many quotes that would generate many discussions. Here are a few of my favorites:
“The publishing industry has a hard time processing Black characters unless we’re suffering”
“Mr.____, you should really go to therapy. Black men don’t go, and it’s an epidemic”
“Destigmatizing male vulnerability is the first step toward rebuilding the absolute ruin that straight men have left the world in”
“It is an old story, really. Women telling the truth, and no one believing them.”
Tia William’s was out here doing intentional work. Black characters that fight their demons and who put an end to destructive behaviors is an important narrative. We need to see Black characters conquering trauma in healthy ways. Despite her past trauma, Eva acknowledges the effects trauma has had on her lineage and she fights to put an end to it. She was able to maintain a healthy co-parenting partnership with her ex-husband, establish distinct boundaries in order to continue a relationship with her mother, and still be the mother she has always needed/wanted to her own daughter.
Audre, the daughter, is a national treasure. At times, the book had to remind me that she was only 12 years old. Two of the quotes I previously mentioned were said by her. Eva has done her best to give Audre the life that she didn’t have. Eva explored the complexities of her relationship with her mother despite it being afflicted by “generational curses”. Eva still tried to paint a picture of positivity about her mother and accept that her mother will never be who she needed, that maybe she wasn’t equipped to be that mother. So she became that mother for Audre.
Eva: “…but I need you” Lizette: “Twice in one week? I’m flattered. You’ve never need me for anything”
Lizette would never get it. Eva needed her for everything. She’d just never had her.
And Shane. I’m having a hard time trying to not romanticize Shane but here is a Black male character who has also suffered unspeakable trauma that he actively fights against. He shares a bond with Eva due to their patterns of destructive behaviors serving as coping mechanisms. But in Eva he found purpose and promise that he didn’t know was available to him. Meeting rock bottom fueled him to crawl his way out and I loved to read about his progress. Both of their progress. And his vulnerability with Eva was gut wrenching and refreshing. He needed her. They needed each other.
Shane told her: "You burst into my solitude demanding to be see. You were overwhelming. Just wild and weird and brilliant, and I never had a choice. I liked everything about you. Even the scary parts. I wanted to drown in you f***ing bathwater".
Here is a love story that yes, starts with pain, proceeds with desperation but decisively ends with fulfillment. Not every romance will be filled with happiness and joy 100% of the time. If this book showed me anything is that hurt people can work to mend themselves and still choose love in the process. I felt at peace at the end of the book; desperate to read more about Shane and Eva’s future but at peace nonetheless.
Favorite quote: “This is for the misfit”
TWs: self-harm, sexual-assault, rape, alcoholism, substance abuse, addiction