Words by Bene’ Viera
Belle, as her beloved readers know her, cringed when she was coined the “Black Carrie Bradshaw.” I understand why. Demetria L. Lucas is not a character, and her life is not a script. Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby. In her debut book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to- Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life, she bears her soul in her compelling anecdotes of the joys and pains of love, or lack thereof.
The Prince George County native refuses to settle for anything less than butterflies. Not the clichéd kind either. Lucas never pretends as if her life is not fabulous filled with shi shi foo foo dinner dates and VIP industry parties. Yet her lifestyle has not spared her from the sting of a broken heart. She openly admits her naiveté with a few men. It’s clear that, like most women, dating has been trial and error for Lucas. She endures some wins and losses. But there is no tragedy or bitterness, only the desire to live a full life with or without a man like her beloved Nola Darling.
A Belle in Brooklyn is comical. Whether it’s the carefree stories of Brooklyn house parties or her meeting a cutie while sweating out her hair at a Manhattan club, you want to know what’s next in her world. But Lucas doesn’t lack depth. She recounts her sexual assault and being in a relationship with no reciprocity.
What she doesn’t do is dole out relationship advice, which if anybody has the credentials to do so it’s her. Devoid of the preachy message telling women how to find a man, A Belle in Brooklyn is a dating memoir of a woman in her 20’s; and it reads like a compilation of posts from her blog of the same name. It’s her life, her story. A story women can see different pieces of themselves throughout.
With a 10-year career that has revolved around relationships in some capacity, relationships are Lucas’ niche. She began her career editing romance novels for Harlequin and BET Books. Her freelance hustle led to her gig with Honeymag.com detailing her dating chronicles. That led to her current position as the Relationships Editor for Essence. Her book is a mixture of the thousands of interviews she’s done with men, the conversations she’s had with her “Male Squad,” and her own experiences.
From chapter one you’re engrossed with Lucas’ adventures through Paris when she bumps into a crush from her hometown. Within minutes she’s abruptly stopping what was seconds away from being passionate sex if he hadn’t committed the deal breaker of all deal breakers- trying to hit it from the back their first time.
Nothing is off limits.
The male characters are just as much as part of her journey as she. Long time readers of the blog will immediately recognize the men. We finally understand why her relationship with Greg a.k.a. Mr. Ex didn’t work. Evan, the older, safe man, was ready for the future while Lucas was ready to dance on tables. Stars had girls in different area codes. And who can forget TLA, through who we learn the importance of the title and timing. Other men are merely passersby in her world. She dated them, had fun while it lasted and was on to the next. One gets the sense that she never went into a date secretly planning the wedding. Dating is just that, and sometimes nothing more. She is completely ok with that.
“Condom Conundrum” reveals what men really think about women who carry their own condoms. “Great Expectations” is the hilarious conversation between Lucas and her Male Squad about women swallowing spunk. You will love Lucas for pointing out the men’s double standard even if it was a battle lost. “Would You Date You?,” “Giving to Get,” “A Good Jump Off is Hard to Find” and “Dating Honor Code” are discussion pieces with hints of wisdom.
It is “She don’t believe in shooting Stars,” “An A/B Conversation,” and “Teenage Love Affair” that touch you in an unexpected way with such poignant emotion.
Could it be our fascination by the life of the woman known as Belle that keeps us wanting to know more? Perhaps. Or maybe it is our curiosity of how she handles her own relationships as a relationship expert. You understand her through her vulnerability. It’s as if you know who she is as a woman. Her transparency reaffirms that you are not alone in your quest for love. Lucas’ relationships aren’t on a pedestal absent of error. But her outlook on life is what’s inspiring.
A Belle in Brooklyn is fun, sexy, witty and captivating. Picture it as your no-holds bar girlfriend telling you a series of real life stories over cocktails. In the midst of her telling the dating stories that seem to only happen on TV, she drops golden gems of wisdom you apply to your life only if applicable. From page one you’re invested. Not because every detail about her life is relatable. Not even because you desperately desire advice on how to find love, which this book is not. You’re invested because the writing is just that damn good. Lucas shows us what Black women look like who live perfectly happy single lives. And she proves love is always attainable.
A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life is available wherever books are sold.