CBR11Bingo – Remix
So this is a direct remix of the Agatha Christie novel And then there were None. We know this (so sorry about the spoilers) because Rachel Howzell Hall directly quotes a part of that novel in the epigraph for this novel. But it’s not just that: it also flirts with being a remix of Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game and even more lightly flirts with being a little bit Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got her Groove Back.
So the biggest difference between Howzell Hall’s book and Christie’s is that our protagonist is also the narrator and well, we have a protagonist. So our narrator has recently had some kind of scandal in her home life that involves her daughter, a bully, and her ex-husband and his new wife. While this tamps down, she has accepted being the “voice of Black America” on a new reality show on a Mexican island. It turns out that when she’s there, there’s a greater connection between her and the other contestants from their everyday lives. It goes from there.
While this book is far from perfect for various ways, it’s quite interesting in part because the narrator (by extension of the author) is incredibly well-read, and while you might spend the whole novel deciding whether or not you like her as a person, you understand her more and more as a Black woman in America and how that affects, colors, and influences the ways in which she is the narrator of this novel. It’s not so much that this book is a critique of race in America, so much as race in America is the constant background radiation of a book like this, and well, the narrator reflects that. It’s almost a book that is so politically saturated in its very being, that it almost denies being political.