rainey royal book coverReviewed by Melanie Kline

Rainey Royal is the daughter of an infamous jazz musician growing up in the 1970s. Her mother has moved out and her father, Howard, turned the home into a “flop house” of his admirers. Nothing is maintained in the house–it is just used for music sessions with random musicians her father meets and a crash pad for anyone who happens to be hanging out with Howard.

Rainey has a difficult time dealing with all of the strange people that are always in her home–often having to share her room or even give it up completely to someone she has never even met that found their way into Howard’s “zone”. She seems to care a lot less that they are in the home until they are in her room; she is otherwise both flippant and angered at the same time.

Gordy, Rainey’s uncle, also lives in the home and while he does not play an instrument he is completely engulfed with the happenings and workings of the home. Gordy also likes to visit Rainey in the night. She pretends to be sleeping, but this doesn’t always work and her father turns a blind eye to the situation. Gordy doesn’t play much of an actual role in the story as much as what Rainey and her friends “think” about him.

Rainey Royal was a horrible read for me personally. I found no humor in the sad attempts at humor and was appalled by the haphazard way the story was written. The book did not make me “feel” it and was difficult to read because it just did not flow and I couldn’t get a “picture” in my head of the events as they unfolded. Rainey’s best friend is sleeping with her father, but Rainey doesn’t know it. Gordy is sneaking into Rainey’s room at night, but her father pretends not to know it. It just seemed like a complete waste of time to finish the book at all, although I did. I waited and waited for the climax of the novel but it never materialized. The book also ended with absolutely no “real” ending and I felt as though I had actually read an excerpt from another book.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend Rainey Royal to anyone other than the author and publisher, and even then only to rethink and rewrite the entire book.

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆ 

Review copy was provided by Soho Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.