Making the hook-up - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Champagne and Benzedrine (Roland Hulme)

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Making the hook-up

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Making the Hook-Up: Edgy Sex with Soul

Ultimately a job extremely well done. A satisfying erotic collection of stories whatever color your skin is. Quite the most visceral collection of short stories I’ve ever delved into
Published:
Pros:
The writing is top-notch stuff. Not just sexy - but also thought provoking and clever.
Cons:
Perhaps won't appeal to as wide an audience as a more 'mainstream' title.
Rating by reviewer:
5
extremely useful review
Before we begin, I need to disclose something. I am the whitest white person ever born. If I take my shirt off, you can literally see me from space. I make the douchey vampires from Twilight look practically sunburnt by comparison – I’m literally translucent.

Which is why I was probably not the intended audience of Making the Hook-Up.
But reading this collection of ‘urban’ erotica, penned by African-American authors and edited by the cool and cognizant Cole Riley, opened my eyes to a lot of things.

One thing that rapidly becomes clear is that race plays an uncomfortable role in erotica. You need only go to the local video store to see titles like ‘Blacks and Blondes’ and ‘Ebony Sluts’ to understand that porn, and erotica in general, compartmentalizes and deputizes African-Americans into sexual stereotypes (much the same is done with Asians and Latinos.)

One of the purposes of Making the Hook-Up is to give African-Americans an erotic voice of their own – a unique sexual identity in which their desires, rather than their race, play the deciding role.

“The reflection of the black sexual being,” editor Cole Riley quoted mentor Calvin Herndon, “should be as creative and innovative as the soulful simmer of Nina Simone, the barely concealed bite of bluesman John Lee Hooker or the electrified muted moans of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.”

And that’s certainly what came across in the stories contained within Making the Hook-Up.

They were cool.

Cool in a sense that you got to be a part of an eroticism that was painfully close to the mainstream of ‘white’ erotica, yet a quantum apart. Having read an awful lot of erotica in my time, I can quite happily admit that Making the Hook Up was quite the most visceral collection I’ve ever delved into – with descriptions of ‘large, luscious, thank-you-Jesus thighs’ and ‘tight junk’ that seem so much more mouthwatering than a lot of other erotica I’ve read.

But what astonished me was how similar so-called ‘urban’ erotica was. While every story was penned from the perspective of an African-American (or ‘of color’) protagonist, so many of the mainstreams of erotica remained the same.

There’s always a certain amount of sexual validation going on, a measure of wish fulfillment and ultimately just some hard, fast sex. It’s reassuring to know that despite the apparent boundaries of color, the emotions and actions that ultimately turn us on are colorblind.

And in that respect, I compare Making the Hook Up to other anthologies and collections by Cleis Press and think it ranks exceptionally highly. The writing is top-notch stuff – not just sexy (visceral, as I described it earlier, is a very valid description) but also thought provoking and clever. The majority of the stories had a satisfactory close and that’s rare for an erotic anthology that crams eighteen stories into the collection.
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My Making the hook-up tags
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Anyone
  • Where
    [ ? ]
    Where / what types of places can this product be used?
    • Anywhere
  • Features
    [ ? ]
    What kind of features does this product offer?
    • Travel friendly
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Comments
  • gone77
    Excellent review, Red. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for your perspective.
  • Rockin'
    Alright, I want to read this, so, your review succeeded, but I am surprised that you didn't include any of the story titles. What was your favorite tale? (or favorites if you can't pick just one)
  • Sammi
    Good review!
  • Beck
    This was a very well written review thanks! Great job!
  • sktb0007
    Love the disclosure lol!
  • LilLostLenore
    nice review
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