Wednesday, September 13, 2017

[Book Review] The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

Book review of The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard is a slow, but very intriguing story about a man on a mission, his niece (whom he just found out existed), and a long family history of "peculiarities".

The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

At seventy-two, Johnny Ribkins shouldn’t have such problems: He’s got one week to come up with the money he stole from his mobster boss or it’s curtains.

What may or may not be useful to Johnny as he flees is that he comes from an African-American family that has been gifted with super powers that are a bit, well, odd. Okay, very odd. For example, Johnny's father could see colors no one else could see. His brother could scale perfectly flat walls. His cousin belches fire. And Johnny himself can make precise maps of any space you name, whether he's been there or not.

In the old days, the Ribkins family tried to apply their gifts to the civil rights effort, calling themselves The Justice Committee. But when their, eh, superpowers proved insufficient, the group fell apart. Out of frustration Johnny and his brother used their talents to stage a series of burglaries, each more daring than the last.

Fast forward a couple decades and Johnny’s on a race against the clock to dig up loot he's stashed all over Florida. His brother is gone, but he has an unexpected sidekick: his brother's daughter, Eloise, who has a special superpower of her own.

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book! Each and every one of them was so complex and I loved that we learned more and more about them as the story progressed.

The storyline itself was short and sweet, as it spanned the course of a week. As I was reading, I couldn't wait to see how the story ended.

I enjoyed the writing style quite a bit and only had one small irk (more on that later).

On numerous occasions, the reader is thrown right into flashbacks and memories without any indication. I usually don't like when authors do that, but this time it worked well! It was all so smooth.

The same was true for scene jumps. For example in one line Johnny was talking to Reg outside, and the next line he was back in the hotel room with Eloise. It was a bit jarring, but it worked! Of course there were also plenty of chapter breaks and section breaks that were clearly marked.

Beware, the negatives:
My only complaint about the writing was that it could be a bit repetitive. For example, both the man and the girl talked about not knowing one another various times.

Repetition was also a bit of a problem for me in the way that the memories and flashbacks were organized. Of course for many readers this would probably help tie things together, but because I read the book so quickly I didn't need a refresher.

Formatting wise, one thing that didn't make sense to me was the clearly marked breaks in a section where it didn't make sense. For example, a break included in the same scene.

All super tiny "negatives"!

Favorite passages:
If what Meredith said was there, then Eloise was gifted, unique. And Meredith was right: that was something a lot of folks in the family shared. Little sparks of something special that didn't seem to make much sense and had generally caused more confusion than anything else. Because not knowing what to do with these gifts, many of them spent years trying to understand them, trying to figure out where they belonged and who they were.

People judge you on what you show the world. Stop showing your ass.

No one's gift was easy, but for the person who had received it, it was a source of strength and strange comfort that was difficult to understand and even harder to explain.

Because as hard as he tried to map out every move, he knew that things didn't always work out the way he planned.

And sometimes the only way to follow someone's example is not to follow at all.
Sometimes you have to go out and set your own.

How is anybody going to recognize you, Eloise, if your scared to show people who you really are?

"Everything beautiful in this world is strange," the Hammer said. "If you think about that for a little bit you're going to find I'm telling the truth. You can't live your life worries about people being scared of you just for being who you are. Because what you are is beautiful. It's not your job to try and compensate other people's lack of vision. You've got enough to do just trying to be true to your own."

That's what families do for each other. The best they can.

My final thoughts:
Overall, I did enjoy this read quite it bit! It was a wonderfully slow book to throw in-between my fast-paced thrillers that I have been reading recently!

I would definitely recommend this to others that don't mind a slow story and love character-driven novels.

Thanks for reading!
What is your favorite road-trip novel?


  1. Wow, this sounds like a lot of fun. I'm putting it on my TBR!

    1. Definitely! It's slow, but still a very good read!! :) I hope you love it!