Reviewed by Poppy Johnson
Tia McCollors’ The Last Woman Standing is a novel that will surely leave the reader with an unresolved feeling. Is it that there is a lot of name dropping and that many products are blatantly named in the book, much like advertising or marketing schemes from the 1990’s? Is it that the characters are so compelling that the reader will wish that the book was not ending upon arriving at the last page? It varies. It depends. The reader will answer these questions herself, sooner than later, and will either love the book or be immensely annoyed by the premise and promise of it all.
Do short non-sentences annoy you? (“Sort of.”) Do clichés make your skin crawl? (“Frank wasn’t a Michelangelo, Lynette thought, but he was a genius in his own right.”) Do you love reading slang? (“‘So whaddaya going to do?’ Kenny asked.”) and (“Ain’t God good?”). Technically speaking, I was disappointed with the author’s quality of writing. Is it possible to read a book about women of color without all of the distracting mumbles prose and soulja-sister talk? I would have been surprised if I had been offered “the King’s English” throughout the entire book. I didn’t expect it, and wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get it. Having said that, I would have definitely enjoyed it more if it had been written with proper sentences, better English and decent phrasing throughout.
The story line was a bit predictable, although there were some noted twists and turns. Our heroine, Shelia Rushmore, is concerned about the state of the relationship with her love interest, Ace Bowers. Unfortunately for Shelia, Ace is still in love with his ex-wife Lynette (Lynn), the mother of his two daughters Carmen and Jada. The story centers on Ace bouncing back and forth between the women, sending mixed signals, confiding in one, then promising more of himself to another, until it all comes down to picking one woman to spend the rest of his life with and live happily ever after.
There are best friends and relatives, for both sides, who are also involved in the mix. And less predictably, there is our Heavenly Father, also involved in the decisions of the characters – guiding their choices and offering comfort along the way. Expect some funny and interesting scenes (when both ladies end up in the same restaurant for dinner or when Lynn has to deal with her teenage daughter misbehaving), but otherwise, be prepared to feel sorry for Shelia – who is suffering from “giving the milk with no one to buy the cow” syndrome.
The final chapters of the novel start off with all of the ingredients to break the mold, and take the story from mundane to magnificent. The reader will discover that Shelia has news that can potentially change the lives of everyone. The reader will also want to know if Ace leaves Lynn for good and goes to Shelia, or if he has other plans, but I’m not one to spoil the ending. If you have read the book cover to cover, the way I did, you deserve to get the prize at the end. Only then will you be able to decide for yourself if it was worth the journey or not.
Poppy graduated with a JD from the Michael Moritz College of Law. She worked in several NYC law departments before realizing she’d rather be teaching. After a decade of teaching Business Studies courses, she decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, managing client content from comedy to marketing, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.