The Rebel Christian

Book Reviews

From A Cold Dark Place

By Michael Tavon

By Michael Tavon

This is a collection of short stories and essays based on the life of the writer, a combination of fiction and reality that is interesting at some points and puzzling at others. I am probably the WORST person Tavon could have approached for a review. I have mixed feelings for this piece. It’s a good concept and it is written quite well but I feel like it’s full of nothing but negativity, generalization, and complaints. I am not the type of person to put up with whiners. We’ve all got a sob story but if you have time to tell yours then you’re not working hard enough. You should chase your dreams so hard there’s no time to think about the past.

The world is so ugly and Tavon gives us a close up of that from his point of view. Part of me wants to feel sympathetic toward the “poor black man, from a poor black family, raised in a poor black neighborhood,”—his words not mine—but I can’t. Actually, I refuse. Because when you want something bad enough, you make it happen. No matter your color or condition of living. And it seems that’s what Tavon has decided to do, but I can’t find his effort beyond the mound of complaints and tales of woe.

Just take a moment and imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. had the same negative attitude expressed in Tavon’s writing...

There’s a lot of crude stereotyping here. About the attitudes toward the homeless, about women and their mindset toward ‘nice guys’, the government, a twisted view of Chick-Fil-A and its relation to homosexuals, the governmental oppression of blacks, and even Ebola. There is no happiness in this piece, which may be due to a lack of joy in the author’s perspective on things, but there isn’t even any hope. I’ve never met anyone who is actively working on their dreams but complains the entire time.

One of my favorite lines of the book… “I am a young man with a dream most women can’t fathom to believe. Writing is my ONLY ticket out. And women only see writing as a hobby.”

I’d like to take this moment to admit that I am, indeed, a 22-year-old, naturally born woman who has self-published multiple books. I’d also like to recognize JK Rowling, EL James, and Danielle Steel—all women, all billionaires, and all WRITERS. Ms. Steel is currently the bestselling author ALIVE and the fourth bestselling author of all time. So please, PLEASE, tell me how women ‘can’t fathom’ your precious, incomprehensible dream, sir…?

So, after ranting and raving and chucking my copy of this book across the room, why did I give three stars to a piece I didn’t enjoy? Because I can see why others would like this. People like to be angry, they love hearing about the black struggle, how easy is it to jump on the bandwagon behind white cops abusing black victims? As a person of color myself, it’s all too easy. But I’m not so simple minded. I don’t like whiners or grumblers, I like to see people overcome and you just don’t get that here. Maybe others will love reading about how life just utterly sucks, according to Tavon. Maybe others will love discussing the unfair approach from the US government to Ebola.   

“How’s the Ebola virus so suddenly curable once it hits two Americans but as long as it was in Africa it was fine if they died from it?”—I guess that’s his insinuation that America didn’t care when Africans were dying, which only adds to the growing flame between blacks and whites in the US. Because, of course, only the White Americans didn’t care, right? And every disease in Africa is America’s responsibility to cure, right?

I mean, we could just rejoice in the fact that Ebola is curable at all. But no, instead Tavon focuses on the negatives, nitpicking to a T—as he does throughout his entire book.

From A Cold Dark Place is thought provoking but in the wrong way for me. It’s definitely a conversation starter and could even serve as a fine addition to critical thinking course materials. But it is not at all entertaining. If you’ve ever heard of Black Lives Matter, then you don’t need to read this book. If you’ve ever seen Fox News then you don’t need to read this book. If you’ve ever met a black guy working minimum wage complaining about how he can’t get a girlfriend—probably because he complains too much—then you basically have the gist of this book.

So there…I’ve written my first negative review and I’m not ashamed because this book pushed me that far. But regardless of how I feel, I would actually recommend this book to others. I WANT other people to read it because I think this could start a fire across the nation. It’s just that annoyingly controversial, like Tavon wants to tick you off or rev you up. I obviously fell for the former. So I may not have liked it but I don’t think ‘making me like it’ was the author’s intention. In all honesty, I think Tavon would be happy to find someone who disagreed with him because, at the very least, it means I took in what he said and paid attention to his craft.

Writing is not Tavon’s forte, it is his ability to conjure a reaction from his readers—whether good or bad—and I think that’s something worth a few stars.  

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*