Reviewed by me for Reader’s Favorite.
Little Tea by Claire Fullerton takes the readers on a journey of betrayal, young romance, friendship, and racism in the ’80s. Ava, Celia, and Renny had been friends since they were thirteen years old. Years after, when Ava struggled with her decision to leave her twenty-three years of marriage, they plan on getting together in Memphis (their hometown). Ava had been with Stan since she was twenty-two years old, but now she feels that they are in a rut. On reaching Memphis, Ava got back in touch with her ex-boyfriend, Mark. What nobody could have seen coming was that Celia’s ex-boyfriend, Tate, was also in Memphis and was eager to talk to Celia. His presence brought up many memories of the past, sweet and bitter, that Celia had worked hard in keeping buried. Betrayal of Tate, good times with her brother, Hayward, and the heartfelt discussions with her charismatic friend, Little Tea were the most significant of all those recollections.
Little Tea by Claire Fullerton is an experience and not just a book. Most of the time, Celia narrates the story, but that does not decrease the importance of other characters. Ava is a capricious woman that brings the fun factor into the plot. Renny is a straightforward woman whose personality oozes control. Celia is a thinker who does not speak without analyzing all the facts. Little Tea, whom Celia considered her best friend, is a ferocious girl who only wishes to get far away from the racism of Memphis. Hayward, Celia’s brother, brings calm and joy into the plot. He takes a firm stand against the racist comments of his family without showing any sign of anger or annoyance.
Claire Fullerton has done a commendable job of discussing the prejudiced opinion of a few privileged sets of people against the black community in the ’80s. Although Celia and Hayward can find no flaw in Little Tea, not all members of their family tolerate this friendship. After moving to California, Celia did not wish to revisit her past. The reason for her reluctance is revealed one chapter at a time. Claire Fullerton moves both the present and the flashback parts of the story almost in parallel. Drama, the innocence of the youth, the banter of the friends, and suspense are my most cherished elements of the book.
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