Review: We Take This Man by Candice Dow and Daaimah S. Poole

Reviewer: Jamaica Layne

Review: I have to say I was somewhat skeptical when I picked up this book. First, I’m usually not a fan of books that are tag-team written by two authors. In my experience, books that have multiple authors are usually a muddle of different voices working against each other. Plus, book is about a three-way marriage—-and the book’s cover makes no secret about its subject matter, with a tuxedoed groom with a white-gowned bride on each arm. I’m not usually a fan of the love-triangle story, so I went into this book waving a lot of red flags around. But Dow and Poole’s tight, focused writing, along with their very original take on the old love-triangle theme, make this book well worth a read.

The plot centers around Dwight Wilson, a successful software executive, his longtime wife Tracey, and his newfound love Alicia, whom he meets when he has to move away from his home in Jacksonville, Florida to Washington DC as part of a job transfer. Tracey is settled into her life in Florida and refuses to move to Washington, forcing Dwight to enter into a long-distance marriage. The marriage begins to fall apart, and Dwight begins romancing Alicia Dixon on the side. Dwight files for divorce, and he marries Alicia when his divorce is final so they can both begin a new life in Washington—or so he thinks. But unbeknownst to him, back in Florida Tracey contests the divorce at the last possible second and it doesn’t go through—making Dwight a bigamist. All manner of shenanigans occur, to the point that when Tracey and Dwight find out that their “husband” is simultaneously married to two different women, they decide to try out a “three-way” marriage arrangement so they can both keep their man. But guess what? It doesn’t work. The whole arrangement falls apart in the most catastrophic way possible.

Dow and Poole made clever use of their different writing styles and author voices by having the narrative switch back and forth between the two women in the love triangle. This works very well. Each chapter is dedicated either to Tracey—the longtime, settled wife and mother—-or Alicia, the “other woman” who becomes a wife and mother herself—offering the reader a chance to get inside both women’s heads. Though the plot becomes more and more implausible—almost soap-opera-like at times—-Dow and Poole’s unique voices and strong characterizations keep the reader hooked at all times. Perhaps the book’s greatest strength is its snapshot-like ability to capture the nuances of upper-class African-American society, along with its biting social commentary on some of that segment of society’s traditions, taboos, and unspoken rules of love and marriage.

We Take This Man is a complex-yet-satisfying tale that asks a lot of tough moral questions, and resolves those questions in ways that you probably won’t expect. Authors Dow and Poole make up a unique and memorable writing team. Definitely pick this one up—you won’t regret it!