Reviewed by Tamara Manning
TAGS: La Toya Hankins, Resolute Publishing, sorority, lesbian
An interest in sorority life at Copper University brings three collegians from very different backgrounds together for a journey of a lifetime in Latoya Hankins' novel K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.
Kiara, Donna, and Gloria are college co-eds who have mutual interest in the Kappa Rho (“K-Rho”) Sorority. They get to know each other while awaiting prospective membership interviews, and learn fairly quickly that they are very different. Kiara is a quiet track star who keeps to herself and has a connection to K-Rho via her mom, who is a longtime member. Donna is very candid and often uses her biblical knowledge to get her point across to her peers. Then there’s Gloria, who has always been an academic overachiever. Though diverse in personality, these girls eventually experience how sorority life and a friendship connection can conquer any barrier.
Soon after becoming involved with K-Rho, the strength of their connection is tested. Kiara is terrified that her Big Sisters and Line Sisters will find out about her sexuality, especially after a complication arises with her girlfriend. Donna stays on an emotional roller coaster with her unfaithful, longtime boyfriend, Pete. Gloria, who has never been able to find a good match for her tastes, becomes consumed with upward mobility and overlooks her longtime friend Carlos, who may just be the man she was looking for.
While the book was well written and attention grabbing, it was very predictable. The use of “lover” and no gender-specific pronouns made it clear early on that Kiara was homosexual. The transparency of this fact gave a clear path to how the book was going to end. K-Rho would be a good read to those who are interested in books that speak on sisterhood, college life, and friendship. However, it did not give an accurate depiction of sorority life. It leads the reader to think that any and everyone deserves to be selected into a sorority which may seem unjust. There are many reasons why a prospect may be disqualified; yet the book would have done better to stress that discretion was a better route to selection, especially on a college campus. Speaking of discretion, Kiara’s sex scenes were very explicit and distracting, and took away from the story. The over-pictorial adjectives used in describing Kiara’s intimacies with her partner were glaring. Kiara’s relations with her partner could have been implied by simple, less descriptive words.
Overall, the book was well written and not too wordy, and the storylines were interesting and relatable. The best aspect of the book is that it began at Copper University and ended there; the story came full circle and it followed the trio for over a decade, and explored how the three women supported each other through physical attacks, unplanned pregnancies, marriage, and divorce. It appears that the author is targeting the LGBT audience and if that iss true, then K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood will be a hit for that population. On a scale from 1-10, the book rates a 6.
Tamara Manning is from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and young son. She is very active in Assembly Baptist Church, and serves Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. as President of Nu Theta Zeta chapter; current Ohio Graduate Member-at-Large; and Regional Representative for Ohio. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her mother (who is also a Zeta), shopping, reading and encouraging others. She is currently at work on an inspirational book.