Book Reviews

Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby

I just happened to be in Walmart one day and needed some new books to read. I stumbled across this one and thought it’d be intriguing. Little did I know that I was in for a real juicy treat. If I tell you this book was beyond scandalous. You hear about pastors in these mega churches and the sins they commit, but this one takes the cake. Let’s get into it. I’m going to start with the discussion questions first.

1. What do you think was the most important lesson learned in the story for Tanya? Curtis? Adrienne?

Tanya – She was holding on to something that didn’t want to be held on to. She tried really hard to keep her marriage for the sake of her vows and her daughter. I think she learned that sometimes, it’s best to let things go when there’s no way that things will work out.

Curtis – Greed will cause you to lose absolutely everything. Greed as far as money, power, and sex. He learned the absolute hard way.

Adrienne – A man will never leave his wife for you, no matter how many times he says it. She should’ve known that they weren’t going to be together when he made her get that abortion.

2. Why do you think Tanya went out of her way, trying to make things work with  Curtis?

She believed in the vows that they took. Also, she didn’t have real proof that Curtis was sleeping around. Alicia, their daughter, was her main focus. Despite him hitting and choking her out, she stayed because I think deep down, she thought that maybe things would get better.

3. Do you believe that’s Curtis’s corrupt way of living was a result of some childhood situation?

It’s possible, however, he did mention that what changed was when they moved from Atlanta to Chicago, the temptation became overwhelming. Had it been a childhood situation, I think he would have been reckless before then.

4. What are your feelings on Tanya’s reaction after finding such disturbing information in Curtis’s office? Would you have reacted the same?

I think her reaction was too calm and unrealistic of how a woman would’ve reacted. Had I found a lease for an apt my husband was renting with another woman, receipts from things he bought her and a receipt for an abortion, I would’ve lost my entire shit and somebody would be dead. That’s a lot to take in to not be outraged. How dare I let someone embarrass me in that manner and I not become psychotic. I mean I guess she handled it well, but it was too calm for my liking.

5. Do you agree with Nicole’s decision in terms of not wanting to advise Tanya about her marital situation, even though they are best friends? Why or why not?

I agree because it’s really not her place to say anything. Also, given that she’s not in Tanya’s shoes, she can’t advise on something she knows nothing about. She doesn’t even know the whole situation because Tanya didn’t tell her everything.

6. Do you think Curtis genuinely loved Alicia, and that deep down he wanted to be a good father to her?

Uh, hell no. As often as he cancelled on her, laid hands on her mother, and did all his dirt, his daughter was the last thing on his mind. Any man who loves his daughter, would be showing her the kind of man she should be looking for when it comes to dating and finding a mate. If he really wanted to be a good father, he wouldn’t have done what he did to her mother.

7. Why do you think Curtis became so consumed with money, power, and women?

Just like anyone who becomes consumed with these things, adjusting to things you’ve never had before can be hard for some people. He never had any of that before and now that he does, he’s letting it all go to his head. He’s letting it drive him.

8. Do you think Curtis is an example of many pastors throughout this country? Is Tanya typical of the pastors’ wives? Is Adrienne an example of many women in the church?

Hell yes, hell yes and hell yes.

9. Prior to reading Casting the First Stone, had you ever experienced a similar situation wth your own pastor?

Before I stopped attending church, there was a church that we fellowshipped with that had a similar incidence, which caused the church to dissolve and many members to come to my former church.

10. What do you think is happening to the moral values of Christian leaders in the country and why?

To be honest, I think it has a lot to do with appearances now. They are more concerned with how they are perceived. They are also in competition with other pastors. Another thing is because they are pastors and purportedly closer to God, many people put their faith in them and believe they can do no wrong. Many pastors take advantage of this feat. They know as long as they have followers, they can do as they please and no one will bat an eye.

11. Do you believe Curtis wanted to do the right thing, but really couldn’t help doing the things he did? Did he have a problem with sexual addictions, or was it that he simply just wanted more than one woman in his life?

I don’t think he wanted to do the right thing. He was very manipulative for example when he wanted Tanya to vouch for them to get more money from the church. He was playing nice with her to get on her good side so she could do something for him to help get him out of a sticky situation. I don’t think he had a sexual problem, I think that he just wanted someone to dominate and since Tanya wasn’t having it, he had to look elsewhere. I do believe he wanted more women which was part of his greed.

12. What do you think is the most serious problem in the church today?

Hypocrisy. Many pastors are preaching about what you shouldn’t do as they are doing it. There’s a lot of gossiping and people are attending church for all the wrong reasons. There’s adultery, infidelity, money laundering, hypocrisy, fake fellowship, etc.

Final thoughts:

This book was a lot more than I thought it would be. Did I think it was right for Tanya to be having an affair even though Curtis had his dirt? No. I feel she should’ve filed for divorce when she found all of those receipts.

Curtis is a lowdown piece of shit. He was cheating with a married woman and an 18-year-old girl who he got pregnant. He also had a threesome and was being blackmailed for it. He is greedy and deserved everything he got. When his daughter fell down the stairs, that should’ve been his wake up call and all the more reason for Tanya to have taken her and left.

The book started off dreadfully slow, but when it got to the good stuff, it became fast paced, one incident after the other. It was a really good read.

Product Reviews

We’re Going to Need More Wi…Sparkling Water

I made a vow this year to read 25 books. Well, starting on the first, I read one book, cover-to-cover. It was just that good. “We’re Going to Need More Wine…” by Gabrielle Union was a helluva read. It was nonstop laughter, sadness, anger and so much more. Fortunately, I had no plans to leave my house on Monday, so I figured, why not read a book that I digitally checked out from the library (checking out books is part of my journey to minimalism)?

I won’t get into too much detail, but majority of her book had a lot to do with her not being comfortable in her own skin as a dark skinned black woman. Growing up she felt like an outsider having gone to PW schools and being the only black girl, a dark skinned black girl at that. She talked about wanting to have her hair straight to make her less of a target to be bullied, which is something that I can relate to. I always wanted me hair straight and even though I was at a mixed school (Channelview), I was always picked on for some reason or another, but I think it mainly had to do with the fact that I was a dark skinned black girl who had long hair and spoke proper English.

She goes on to talk about the boys she dated, the boys she wanted to date, and the boys that didn’t show interest because of her skin. When she brought up the topic of her first husband, Chris, making it big in his career and how he wanted someone who more so fit the part, a lighter skinned woman, it made me think about how black men today and when they get a little bit of money, they go for the light skinned black women, Latinas, Asians and white women. It always baffles me how these men, our men, can think that we aren’t worthy enough to be on their arm when their status changes.

Union talked about how she found out her dad was cheating on her mom with a woman who looked exactly like her mom. Why cheat on your significant other with someone who favors them? I’m not seeing the sense in that. Then the fact that her mother knew but stayed because she loved the life they had. I think what parents don’t understand about their choices is that their kids see these choices and often times end up making the same poor decisions. It’s the domino effect that just keeps trickling down from generation to generation.

Rape is a huge part of this book and she explains how it has affected her life and her relationships. She was raped by someone she didn’t know, but often time that isn’t the case with rape victims and survivors. Coming from someone who knew their rapist, it’s not something you can move on from. You have to worry that you may one day run into this person, if your family will believe you, if they threatened to hurt you if you told. She talks about the kids that she mentors and the groups that she’s in and have worked with.

If you see Gabrielle Union and her resume of work, you would never know that she grow up hating herself, dealing with people who did and dealt drugs, binge drinking at a young age, having sex just because and so much more. I definitely will be reading this book again because it’s relatable and inspiring in so many ways.

I have always been a fiction reader, but over the past year, I have really gotten into nonfiction and memoirs, self-help, self-care, and anything to help better my life. If you haven’t read this book, I highly, highly recommend it.

Minimalism

Minimalism for the Avid Reader

1. Library

At the library you can check out as many books as you want and renew them. This way you can have books but not have books at the same time. The Houston Public Library now has a feature where you can check it ebooks that are delivered directly to your kindle.

2. Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

You can purchase ebooks that can be delivered to any electronic device for you to read on the go.

3. Audio Books

You can purchase the audio version of books from Amazon or Audible if you aren’t into reading, or just don’t have the time.

4. Read in store

If you have the time, you can read books for free in Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Half Price Books, etc. Buy a cup of coffee and relax with a book.