Wednesday, September 20, 2023

His Happy Place by Zakiya Dalila Harris


I've been watching The Other Black Girl on Hulu and it reminded me of how much I loved reading the book when I bought it, so I moseyed on over to the author's Goodreads page to see if she'd been working on anything new and found this Kindle Unlimited-eligible short story that she had apparently written. OMG!

HIS HAPPY PLACE is this weird and creepy little short story about a Black woman who is dating a Korean man. They've been dating for about four months and they're taking their relationship to the next level by going to a remote little cabin in his woods where he feels the most like himself, according to him. Because nothing says, "I love you, please don't kill me," like isolating yourself with a man.*

*Bad joke but you know, THE FEAR IS REAL.

Anyway, they get there and la la la, nature is beautiful but toilets w/ plumbing are iconic, and apart from the hatred of camping (same), the heroine, Ama, sort of gets into it. She and Nathan have some heart to hearts and he seems like he really wants to let her get to know the real him. Which is when things start getting REALLY FUCKING WEIRD.

Harris is so good at building tension and creating atmosphere. I noticed right away that this had the same vibes that I loved so much in THE OTHER BLACK GIRL. Also like THE OTHER BLACK GIRL, though... I didn't like the ending. Here, the author does something unusual and kind of risky: she starts the beginning of the book with the end of the book, so you already know what's going to happen as you're reading. Well, sort of. I figured if she was going to lead with an expose, she was going to take us somewhere shocking on the journey... but the whole thing just comes full circle with no closure.

I'm not going to give spoilers but if you read it, you'll see what I mean.

I will definitely be reading more from Zakiya Dalila Harris, but based on the two books of hers I've read, she seems to have a bit of a third act problem.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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