Three Sides to Every Story
By Clarence Nero
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780767921367, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 3, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Growing up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Johnny and Tonya meet in high school and fall for each other. Yet their romance falls apart when Johnny seriously injures Tonya’s ex-boyfriend in an altercation. Johnny is imprisoned, and Tonya starts dating a rapper who fulfills her dreams of dancing in videos.
Depressed and deflated in jail, Johnny comes back to life thanks to the help of Pandora, the prison’s “den mother,” and James, who helps Johnny study for his GED. What starts as a platonic friendship between the sexually repressed Johnny and the openly gay James soon develops into a tender love that’s put on hold when James is released on parole. A year later, Johnny is freed as well, haunted by his feelings.
Meanwhile, Tonya, no longer with the rapper, has a new dream of reuniting with Johnny. And James, who wows crowds as a legendary drag queen performer, is furious that Johnny hasn’t reached out to him.
Their lives soon become a twisting roller coaster—secrets are revealed and assumptions are shattered in ways never imagined. Inviting comparison to E. Lynn Harris, Clarence Nero has created a compelling story about the social and sexual challenges black people face today.
Clarence Nero grew up in New Orleans and earned a B.S. degree at Howard University. His first novel, Cheekie: A Child Out of the Desire, won critical acclaim. He is currently a M.F.A. candidate at Louisiana State University and lives in Baton Rouge.
“Nero kicks it off the hinges with this bold new urban drama.”
“The idea of the story is wonderful—man and woman have problems told from each other’s point of view. Then a third character comes into the story to ‘clear up the mess.’ This is not my generation, but I must admit that it held my attention to the end.”
“One of our most promising young authors.”
—Dr. Maya Angelou