Author: Osmund James
Publisher: LMH Publishing Company (February 8, 2001)
TOUGH GIRLS DON’T DANCE is a raw, gutsy story tracing a young country girl’s life from the innocence of a childhood through her rude sexual awakening and finally to the realization of the power of love. Explicitly graphic in detail, this book explores all aspects of human sexuality through Carlene, who in spite of what life throws at her, manages to pull herself up by her own efforts, though perhaps not always doing so nobly.
The author Osmund James lives in rural Jamaica. Physically disabled, he keeps his mental powers alert by voracious reading and prolific writing. His short stories have been appearing in The Sunday Gleaner since 1988.
That out of the way, the plot immediately reminded me of Marquis de Sade’s Juliette. The main protagonist Carlene went on a sexual rampage after being sexually abused by her stepfather, Harry. She was only nine and wanted to grow fast and believed her stepfather when he told her that if he “touch her up” she would “grow real fast and pretty.”
Feeling guilty about the “affair” with her stepfather behind her mother’s back, Carlene looks to move on when she meets Kevin, who promised her the world. One night, her mother and Harry catches them having sex and things would not be okay after that. When her mother beat her and called her a liar for accusing Harry of sexual abuse, the chance to run away with Kevin sounded charming.
When Carlene arrives in Mongoose Town, Kingston, she got the shock of her life when she realized that Kevin didn’t love her and all his flattery was for nothing. He had brought her to Kingston to be a camp prostitute for a den of gunmen known as the Trigger Squad. Disowned by her father, abused by her stepfather and lied to by the man she loved, Carlene’s world tipped and it was not for the best.
She found work as a household help with the Bells and seventeen-year-old Carl Bell fell in love with her. In my opinion, it was never love, but lust, but he kept insisting that he loved her and how he was going to marry her, but Carlene was having an affair with the father. The wife found out, she moved on with the Douglases and was introduced to a lot of other sexual fetishes that I won’t mention here.
Honestly, I got fed up with this book. I didn’t like the story, I didn’t like Carlene and I didn’t like any other characters. The author ended the story abruptly. He didn’t even touched on the stepfather’s past and showed us how Carlene came to find out about his ‘crimes’. The characters didn’t convey enough emotions. Sometimes the sex appeared out of the blue and it wasn’t well done. Too many things were going on all at once and as for the part with Carlene realizing the power of love… I am still waiting for it.
The book reads as if it was written by a sexually frustrated 15-year-old. There were too many grammatical errors and the author used ‘wistful’ a lot.
The book was somewhat quotable.
^ once it was known for sure that a girl was no longer a virgin, every male wanted to have sex with her before she became an ‘old-hand’ or had her first baby. (page 18)
This ring true on many levels in the age that we’re living in.
> I didn’t see being a beauty queen as a great accomplishment. I was aware of all the glitter attached to it, but to me, it seemed pointless for a group of girls to be pitting their looks against each other. After all, I mused, beauty is basically a God-given legacy. Was it right to engage legacies given by God in a contest? Which wasn’t the same as using God’s gifts to better one’s life. (page 27)
That was my absolute favorite thing about this book.
^ And take my advice – stop seeing my husband and keep away from all married men, especially those who are old enough to be your father. They will give you little gifts and feed you great promises, but their intention is to use your young body. (page 78)
> A pity that most women don’t know that silver is sexier than gold. (page 121)
I second this! I love silver more than gold! 🙂
Paris Match by Stuart Woods