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9 March 2014

How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perch
D. Bryant Simmons
Bravebird Publishing LLC
Publication Date
2 Jan 2014
African American Fiction, woman's life story, abuse and courage 

This is the first book in the Morrow girl series. A story of domestic abuse, a story of a women's courage and survival. 

Belinda, or Pecan as she is known, is born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1953 and lovingly brought up by her father after her mother disappears. Her father's love for Pecan is simple and deep, but he can't be there for her any more when she marries the first man who showed any kind of interest in her. Ricky Morrow is a professional boxer and the young couple move to Chicago as Ricky needs his boxing career to take off. 

Right from their first meeting, Ricky shows very little respect for Pecan, but she doesn't know any better and only looking back, realised that the first signs had always been there that he is not a very loving man. When their first child, Nikki, can just about walk, and in her naiveness, Pecan tries to leave Ricky as she realises she doesn't really love him. So she just packs all her stuff in all bags she can find and walks out. But Ricky sees them walking down the road. And even though Pecan tries to play it down and tries to lie to him, he has been set off. He hits her, and again, and again, and again. From than on, she becomes his punching bag whenever he sees fit, whenever he thinks she might not be doing what she is supposed to be doing. 

In time, the couple will have 4 girls, born shortly one after the other. Peacan's saving grace comes in the form of Ricky's aunt, Clara who more than once saves Pecan from her husband's fists by swinging the iron skillet. And than Peacan meets another man. Is she going to make the classic mistake of hurling herself into another relationship to escape from the horrific one she has? Isn't it too much to put on any man to 'rescue' her from an abusive relationship? 

But Pecan is not only a weak and defenceless woman. Initally, for me she is just  naive and as she has never known another relationship, just doesn't know any better. Later and with some life experience, she realised that it is very wrong but that doesn't help with the terrible fear he has instilled in her. And her children will always be her main concern. When Pecan says in her desperation that, from the bottom of her heart, she wishes Ricky would be dead, I did not only believe her and wished with her, heck, I wanted to go there myself and do the deed. 

Yes, your emotions will lie raw. I've never experienced the things Pecan / Belinda went through and as horrific as the violence from Ricky was, sometimes I was also deeply shocked by the treatment she received from Social Services. Something tells me that those things are not entirely fictional and I can truly imagine that woman had to go through this. Luckily, there is now more awareness and help available with domestic violence. But still, the first step has to come from the victim. 

Coming back to the book, the story is told with Pecan/Belinda as the narrator. The writing in her (slight) accent made her come alive for me. I also understand that the author will continue the story with the Morrow girls (Pecan's daughters). All of them are drawn to be very different characters, so I can't wait to see what's going to happen to them.

Invest in some time with Pecan and you'll find a friend. 


Huh? Think you about to out-think me? That I can't see what's right up in my face? Who is he?"
"Who - he ain't nobody - I mean…ain't nobody."
"You fucking around on me?"
"No. I…I was just going to the store. I was…I was coming right back." First one hurt the most. The slap. Backhanded me like I was just a fly. 


"No. Maybe. I don't think so."
"You got four babies out there that need they mama! And you got a man that's crazy."
"That ain't my fault. He'd be crazy no matter what I did. Why you don't talk to him about his craziness? Instead of putting it on me…"
"You a grown woman, Pecan. You know what you doing. You know. You gonna mess around and get yourself killed!"
"Least I got to have some happiness before it happened." 

I have received this book from the author in return for an honest review

About the author:
Biography (taken from Amazon)

Official Bio: 
D. Bryant Simmons was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has earned a B.A. in Sociology and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. She is a mother, entrepreneur, and advocate for female empowerment.

In her own words:
I'm a creative person with an adventurous spirit. I've dabbled in a lot of different forms of creative expression hoping to shed light on realities that society tends to overlook. I studied photojournalism because I wanted to tell stories but it never occurred to me to take creative writing for that! Lol. Loving to read doesn't always translate into loving to write so I was surprised when that happened for me.

My writing style is very much reflective of my personality. I'm horribly impatient--I want the gist in 5 seconds or less, none of this pussy-footing around. Just get to the point. And I love stories that grab at the core of me and make me feel something. I'm distrustful of happy endings and find beauty in survival.