Saint X is a BEACH READ! I did not leisurely read this one beachside, but I still managed to read it in two and half days at over my lunch break, in the pool after work and in bed until my eyes would not stay open. I found this story of a young, beautiful, blonde woman who is found dead during her familiy’s Caribbean beach vacation gripping. At first I wrongly assumed that this was a reimagining of the Natalie Holloway story, but the similarities end at the race, age and general location of women’s disappearance.
This is Alexis Schaitkin’s first novel, but she writes like an old hand in the publishing game. Her insights on the characters are cutting yet honest. She quickly exposes the deepest secrets and inferiority complex of some characters while holding tension through the slow reveal of the main characters’s secrets. She creates a sublet ripple out effect that gives insight on how the death impacted those at the resort at the time and over time without distracting from the focus of the book. The insights feed the intrigue.
I read this book blind, with not more information than I have given you. I find I enjoy this style of reading and I am offering you the same curtesy.
I picked “The Other Black Girl” after hearing the author on a podcast. The basis of this story began when author Zakiya Delila Harris was working in the publishing industry. Specifically, it was inspired by a chance encounter with another Black women in the women’s room in a predominately white work place. Zakiya’s personality and storytelling drew me in, so I found her book at my library.
The book is new take on workplace drama where some women tend to compete rather than support other women. Though this is about a Black women not supporting the only other Black women in the office, I kept thinking about the versions of the story as I know it in movies, “All About Eve,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” and “Working Girl” with a little bit of the “Stepford Wives” thrown into the mix.
This novel took me into two worlds where I have no firsthand knowledge, publishing and the life of a young professional Black female.
There were a few drop-in chapters that I found confusing at first, but it slowly becomes clear that they were driving the plot. Sometime I had to go back and reread a part or look up a name, but I wanted to make sure I was following the twists and turns of this novel with a touch of thriller. The novel does seem to go a little off track in places and some sections could have been edited down, but I am not sorry I stayed until the end of the book.
Reading allows me to step into lives and situations that are not mine. Reading builds empathy and understanding. This was a fun way to spend a long weekend with another point of view.