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Dec 30, 2011

Why I Read This Author: J.L Campbell

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  9:13 AM

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places and people.

This post is thanks to one of my blog friends and awesome blogger: Tiger Holland who read my book review of J.L Campbell’s Contraband. This post started off as a reply to her comment but got too long so I thought why not make a post of it instead.

This was Tiger Holland’s comment on that review:
The main relationship sounds awesome, but the criminal element might not be my thing. I am so picky about how my heroes behave! :-)

Thinking of my reading habits I realised that as a general principle, I also subconciously tend to veer towards heroes and heroines with more obviously admirable traits most times. So what is it about J.L Campbell’s books that “get- me- looking- the- other- way”?
Oh there are many things. Her writing style, the way she so accurately and vividly captures and paints pictures of the world and people around her beloved Jamaica. One of my most favourite scenes from her short story called Entrapment demonstrates this so well (excerpt). If you haven’t read her short stories I recommend that you start with this dynamite collection called Don’t Get Mad....Get Even.
J.L also has such a great talent of carrying her reader with her and putting her smack in the middle of what’s happening in a character’s life. I have a tendency I notice to fall in love with her supporting characters and I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps its because she never forgets her background themes and characters.  They are almost as rich as the main and she follows through on them.There is nothing more irritating than finding a story of an MC's friend developing and then leading to no where. To see how she plays this out, check out the two best friends of Camille in Hardware. Here's a link to my very detailed review: Hardware.

However the most compelling thing about J.L's writing for me is that her stories always carry a strong thread of social consciousness in them. What I mean by that is that the readers are always left with a significant point about reality to chew on and almost always left to reflect on society, their life and moral compass.
I'm not sure if she deliberately means to do this but because of the extremely unprejudiced manner in which she reflects (***I somehow sense this is not the write word***) the reality of Jamaican life, you identify in her story either your own life or that of people around you or those you've heard of.
So yes I think her heroes such as Paul in Contraband, may not have socially ideal characteristics to start off with but the principles of an ideal society are explored and gain significance as one delves into the person and the society that has helped mould their character. For me this is what makes her books works of genius. Come to think of it I don’t think I've read a book of hers that is straight forward  in the moral sense. There is always a challenging array of emotions, thoughts and motives for the characters and the reader  to explore. And not only that, although in most cases there is some form of redemption is the end, this is not always the case, again I refer back to the collection of short stories: Don't Get Mad...Get Even.

But this is in actual fact real life, isn’t it?
I think these are the reasons why i will always read J.L Campbell. She is food for great thought.

I wonder what J.L thinks about my amateur analysis of her writing......  

You can find J.L campbell at The Character Depot.

For your copies of J.L's books click on the images below:

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. I follow J.L's blog but haven't yet read any of her books. You have just made me put one on my TBR pile. Thank you for a great review of why we should be reading a specific author. A nicer post there couldn't be.

  2. What an awesome comment Rebecca. Thanks for coming by. I loved seeing you here.

  3. Great post, Wendy! I haven't read J L Campbell yet. I'm thinking I should.

  4. Wendy, thanks so much for writing this. It's always good to see how other people view what I write, me being close to the work and all.

    I write with Jamaica as a character in all the stories set here. This is because I realized early on that people seem to like the island and always want to know more about it.

    Then too, we have so many social problems which make for interesting storytelling. I also think the fact that I like to observe people is something that helps me create characters readers can relate to, and supporting characters are really good material for other stories.

    In response to your statement about your analysis of my writing, I'd say it's your prerogative as a reader to say exactly what you think about a writer and his/her work.

    Thanks again, Wendy. As you probably know, writers have fragile egos, so it's always good to know when my writing is appreciated.

    Happy New Year and all the best to you an yours!

  5. I enjoyed this review of the author's writing style as opposed to a review of just one of her books. Good insight. I also enjoyed the author's response. It's a refreshing post, Wendy.

  6. Oh thanks for dropping in Lisa. I love paying attention to an author i love this way once in a while. This post was published a while back but I know so many more knew people now that I thought it worth getting back into circulation'


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