USA Anytime Anyplace: A Journey Toward Survival and Self Worth
by Ercell H. Hoffman
Westwood Books Publishing

"Kithira's never ending drive was to live in an ideal world which she perceived could exist."

It could happen anywhere, anytime, in the United States. Kithira Manof is beautiful, self-confident, and largely invisible to those around her. Her grandfather died when she was four, and she hasn't enjoyed a close or healthy relationship with a man since. She engages in numerous superficial relationships with men who either disgust her or become the objects of her obsession after only a brief acquaintance. Other women make her feel so inadequate that she has no close female friends. Despite holding a master's degree, she spends eleven years in a dead-end clerking job. Highly intelligent and scathingly analytical, Kithira, a black woman surrounded by whites in both her private and professional lives, smarts under her exclusion. Yet, she never loses faith that her ideal world, a place free of racism where everyone can get the recognition due them and the kind of love they need, is possible despite her disillusionment.

Hoffman is a licensed marriage counselor, and this comes through in her writing by way of her erudite word choice and incisive descriptions of her characters' strengths and insecurities. Although the text's complex language to describe even simple plot events and ideas may confuse or even deter certain readers, it might be used in a college course in women's studies, African American studies, psychology, or sociology. She clearly draws on personal experiences as she presents Kthira as an educated woman of color whose brilliant potential is forcibly shrouded in institutional racism. Relatably, Kithira readily notices the pettiness and envy in others, even as she is initially oblivious to those traits within her own personality. Admirably, she is still sensitive to the sexual abuse and harassment other women around her suffer. Hoffman subtly presents the idea that different individuals need different sorts of love, besides responding to love differently.

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