Courtney Milan, $2.99
Historical Romance, 2018 (Reissue)
The Pursuit of… was initially released as part of some anthology, and now it’s available separately. Amusingly, the version I picked up at Google Play still has the old cover with big letters emblazoned in the center: Not the final cover. That’s as good a title as the current one, because the author has forgotten to step off her pulpit the moment she logged off Twitter to work on this story. My goodness, I’m not even white but she acts like I need a long, solid lecturing and nagging about how America isn’t respecting the rights of black people blah blah blah.
Basically, here we have John Hunter, a black soldier and former slave fighting for his country against those good-for-nothing Brits, meeting the soldier from the other side, Henry Latham. Don’t worry, Henry’s planning to desert, so this one is still all about America being right. Oh wait, maybe not, as the bulk of this story sees John lecturing Henry about his white privilege, and Henry defending himself by agreeing with John. Romance? What romance? I think these two are supposed to fall in love somehow through lovely speeches such as this one.
“I hold these truths to be self-evident. That you were created equal. And that everyone who treated you as less debased themselves. I believe that you were endowed with unalienable rights: Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.”
There is more – much more – but my fingers actually rebelled at the idea of typing on and on.
I hope you love these two words because they will come up a lot here.
Much later, more romantic invitation to passionate clinches and amour will follow, such as this one:
“All your talk about people being equal. It’s not about me. It’s about you. You want to believe all people are created equal because it excuses your transgressions. You say ‘all men are created equal’ because back in Britain, you never questioned your tea or your sugar or your rum. You didn’t ask who grew the cotton you wore.”
Again, there is much, much more to follow but I can’t bring myself to type further without feeling like plunging my fingers into ice water or something. In fact, while reading this book I half expect to look out my window to see the author leading an Antifa parade at the lawn, screaming out a list of my transgressions, which include the ultimate sin of being born of a race that is currently considered the punching bag of social justice hee-haws on the Web. Oh wait, I’m not even white, what am I thinking? See, this short story has me feeling like I’ve somehow become Caucasian and guilty just from reading it – all the self-loathing without even having enjoyed the white privilege first.
Look, what is the endgame here? Does the author want me to somehow concede and write hate mail to Donald Trump using my blood as ink? Chain myself to some pole at the Mexican-American border and scream, “My death before the wall!”? I’m just a reader who paid $2.99 for a romance story, not a story of some poor white guy constantly having to justify his skin color and race in order to be loved by some guy who ranks higher than he in the oppression Olympics played by social justice advocate LARPers online.
The author’s agenda even has me giving the side-eye to Henry’s love of the peen. The implication here is that, see, he’s white and hence ugh but look, GAY. Yay, that means he’s okay now. Straight white men are so like, ugh, alt-right Nazis; let’s rejoice with the boys in the Gayville!
The Pursuit of… what? If you are white and you want to read something that makes you feel all woke inside without actually doing anything out there to rectify social injustices, then hey, it’s your $2.99. Although if that’s the case, I do wonder whether that money is better off donated to some non-profit genuinely working to help impoverished folks instead. Still, it’s your money… and I wish I got mine back.