Will You Be Mine?
Will You Be Mine?
His narrator is a 50-year-old African-American whose third wife, Chinita—twenty years younger—has just died after a painful bout with “the disease that keeps growing.” Caught in Washington, DC traffic and listening to talk radio as he drives toward his beach house, the narrator has the perfect audience—a sympathetic Teddy bear. His rumination is really a description of his long search for his soul mate, his earth angel. It has taken more than half of his life to find her.
His musings are poignant explorations of the full range of passion and romance. At the same time, the events take on surreal, comic and tragic tones as he negotiates his way in a society that seems obsessed with stifling and subjugating his manhood.
For the African-American male in the last half of the twentieth century, says Beckham, it is a painfully difficult challenge trying to foster a loving, tender relationship filled with passion and joy.
Within the narrator’s searches for his earth angel, he is forced to consider issues that broaden the novel’s thematic reach. His rumination is finally a reflection on the African-American male’s ironic role in twentieth century America, where absurd stereotyping and subjugation diminish prospects for personal fulfillment.
African-American male characters disappear with alarming frequency. His beloved Yo-Yo dies from a mysterious powder produced in the plastics shop where he works. Many of his school mates go to prison or die in the war waged against “the tiny Asian nation.” Two of the other three black men in his college class disappear from campus. Darnel, the brilliant actor, never gets a role in the plays produced on campus, and Kwame, the African student loses his mind and is sent back to Nigeria.