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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Take Me With You by Vanessa Carlisle is a bold story about race, identity, and struggle that centers on Kindred Powell, a woman of mixed race who has her own bout with racial tensions. After losing her mother to an illness and her father being unjustly incarcerated, Kindred has to face the world by herself and find a better life. Moving to New York, she finds her girlfriend, Nautica, who had started working as a dominatrix through an apprenticeship in the sex industry. Kindred eventually finds her own niche in the trade and finds her own boy toy. Her dad is released from prison, but trouble ensues when he goes missing from Skid Row. Kindred must find her dad, but she doesn’t know who to turn to for help. Her father had been an outspoken activist whose views didn’t stand well with many people, and she has reason to believe that the authorities may have had a hand in her father’s disappearance.
Take Me With You is thought-provoking, openly sexual, brutally honest, and racially intense. Vanessa Carlisle doesn’t stop at reading entertainment. She wants you to think and uses her fiction as a critical vehicle that examines the crisis of identity. Its very existence deserves a rightful place in the annals of literary LGBTQ. While it digs into very touchy subject matter, the plot threads are woven with care and its three-dimensional characters talk and behave with psychological precision to reflect real people. There is no doubt that Carlisle gives you a dose of reality based on her own observations, and she doesn’t need to rub it in for you to feel the persistent truth behind it. Many word choices are blunt, but you read and contemplate their true meaning in the context of the scene that accompanies them. Take Me With You is a story that is intuitive with texture and color, and it will appeal to anyone’s sensibilities.