Books in Review
by Adrienne Petterson 2004

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On The Down Low
by J.L. King with Karen Hunter
Broadway Books
ISBN 0-7679-1398-1
Published April 2004 - Hardcover - 190 pages - $21.95

This is an eye-opener of a book if ever there was one.  I first heard about the "down low", or DL as it's referred to, when the author of this book J.L. King was on Oprah.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I had no idea anything like this even existed.  "Straight" men having sex with other men.  Unprotected and indiscriminate sex too.  Being cheated on has a whole new meaning now.  King has been living this life for over 20 years so it's nothing new, really.  He lost his marriage, his children, and his job.  You can only live this kind of lie for so long before things catch up with you.  His wife literally caught him in bed with another man.  King writes about his own experiences as an African American heterosexual man, and says this type of activity is rampant, and alarmingly, common among church-going men, mentors, and the like.  He describes how he got involved and relates stories about the many encounters (and long-term "relationships") he has had, despite being a God-fearing and church-going man.  The spread of HIV and AIDS among African American women (especially wives) was on the increase and became a concern for health officials, yet things were still not out in the open.  King's decision to speak out about this way-of-life is to be admired but at the same time, I feel, despised.  As if women don't have enough to deal with in this life.  This is just one other thing to worry about and make us even more wary of the "stronger" sex.  And, according to King, this goes on in other cultures and between women too.  I do hope that this book enables people to talk about this irresponsible behavior to the younger adults, in the hope that knowledge is power.  Whatever happened to self-control and self-respect?
Conclusion - Alarming and something we should all be aware of.

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed. BookBrowser



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