Publisher/Date: Harper, Feb. 1997
Genre(s): Coming of Age, College Life
Everything feels fresh and exciting much like Stevie in AIN’T GONNA BE THE SAME FOOL TWICE, this colorful sequel to Coffee Will Make You Black.
By the novel’s start, Stevie has graduated high school and is leaving and is leaving to attend college in a small Illinois town not too far from her native Chicago. Although the school is predominately white, Stevie manages to hang with Black folk, making fast friends with Sharlinda and Today. But it’s her relationship with French girl Celeste that proves to be her life-changing moment: that’s when Stevie discovers the delicious taste of a woman.
It’s also confirmed when she, Today and Sharlinda travel to San Francisco for a getaway after graduating college. After her buddies ditch her dates, Stevie decides to explore the city on her own by going to a women-only dance. There she meets Traci, one of the few sistahs in the place. The two hit it off, and pretty soon Stevie decides to stay in San Francisco to carve out a life of her own.
Stevie moves in with Traci, taking over the room and rent for one of the roommates who’s traveling abroad. Although the romantic relationship is great with Traci, it’s hard for Stevie to adjust to the city a first; trying to find a job is pure hell and San Francisco has its share of far-out folk. But you can never keep a Black woman down, and Stevie’s willing to explore new experiences. It’s 1975, and the world is changing; Stevie wants to change along with it.
In time Stevie finds out the more things change, the more things stay the same. Racism might to be as blatant in the City by the Bay as it is in the Windy City, but people are still hung up on color. And after her affair with Traci goes sour, she discovers love is a bitch, too. But she takes everything in stride, and learns that you can be a fool, but you won’t ever be the same fool twice.
Sinclair’s Ain’t Gonna Be is dynamite. Stevie’s spunky character is a hoot, complete with the 70’s lingo and all. The story is fulfilling and leaves you wanting more. Although not as sweet as its predecessor, it’s still a funky good time.
Reviewed January 2006