Rating: 5 / 5
SAVING RUBY KING by Catherine Adel West is a December pick for the Not Yo Mamas Book Club on Instagram and a book that I have been wanting to read since it came out. I was able to pick up the audio and the ebook from the library so I signed up for the buddy read.
SAVING RUBY KING revolves around the title character Ruby King, though it touches on many lives and stories. Ruby’s mother was found murdered in their home in Chicago’s south side and everyone has theories on what happened, but the police have no answers. Ruby is now left home alone with her abusive father Lebanon. Knowing Ruby’s precarious situation and her fragile mental health, Ruby’s best friend Layla is determined to save her. Layla is the preacher’s daughter and her own family situation is questionable, especially when it comes to her father Jackson’s willful ignorance of Lebanon’s actions.
This book was so well done! It alternates perspective between Ruby, Layla, Lebanon, Jackson and the even Calvary church itself. The timeline jumps a bit back and forth in time as well as the story and characters’ backstories are revealed. Each perspective added a lot to the story and I really liked getting the unique perspective of the church building.
The subject matter is heartbreaking and often tough to read hitting on issues of abuse in the home and in the church, suicide and racism. The people of the Calvary church are used to seeing violence in their community and turning a blind eye, even the pastor himself who is supposed to be a leader of the church. People present images to the public, but what is going on behind closed doors is often much different.
The mystery element of the story, what happened to Ruby’s mother was built up well and the pace picks up especially toward the end as answers are being sought. I didn’t foresee the entire ending reveal which is always an added bonus!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this one, I would highly recommend picking this up!