Book Reviews for Afro-Bougie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction

09 Apr

Lauren Wilson is a safety consultant who is occasionally visited by a muse that allows her to write amazing stories. It only happens a few times a year, but it is a wondrous experience. The rest of the time, Lauren evaluates the safety of manufacturing equipment being sent to Europe. The machines are often the size of a room, so she travels frequently.

In her spare time, she is a voracious reader of sci-fi alien encounters, UK historical mysteries, and stories about vampires and werewolves. She’s an online spades player and has a 5-story apartment building dollhouse project that she figures will take her another 10 years to complete. One of their favorite things to do is to drive 4 hours into the Pocono Mountains in PA and visit the Cove Haven couples resort. It’s a long way to go in order to play air hockey, but it’s worth it.

Lauren and her husband, Howard love watching stand-up comedy videos and he has recently started finding online joke videos that they can laugh at together. They have one dog, a pit bull named Petey who is a major bed hog.

You can follow Lauren on her blog and on Facebook by visiting her website for more details,

Purchase Afro-Bougie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction by Lauren Wilson
Genre: African American contemporary fiction

Editorial Reviews for Afro-Bougie Blues

In a beautifully written debut collection of short stories, Lauren Wilson gives us a reflective meditation on ordinary people’s expectations and assumptions with stories that are emotionally rich whilst feeling fresh and disturbingly relevant in today’s world.

In a short story, nothing is superfluous and that’s certainly true in Afro-Bougie Blues where the focus of Wilson’s sentences is sharp and vivid but splendidly elliptical too.

Particularly skilled at compression, Wilson is not afraid to take risks, with form, content, style, and structure as is clearly evident in “Transformations” where she writes a story that doesn’t look how short stories are meant to look by presenting it as email exchanges. It’s close to faultless, ingenious, singular, and full of the echoes of real life.

The best short stories should explore ideas as well as emotions centering around an instant where intense change becomes possible or, at least, imaginable for the character and this is true in all of Wilson’s stories but perhaps no more so than in “Mourning Angela” where every sentence is as full and alive as a sentence can be while managing to stay ordinary and wholly relatable to her readers. And it’s this kind of attention to detail and richness of texture that lifts her characters from the page into some more lasting place in a reader’s mind.

With twelve stories for readers to immerse themselves in and characters that feel vulnerable and real Afro-Bougie Blues is a must-read for fans of short fiction and is an unreservedly recommended 5-star read! —BookViral

Afro-Bougie Blues by Lauren Wilson is a short story collection that basically requires all the content warnings: domestic violence, rape, addiction, abortion, and abuse. But there’s never anything gratuitous in this moving collection. Instead, each story looks at how well-developed characters are coping with what they’ve experienced.

In one story, a woman struggling to conceive a much-wanted baby looks back on an abortion she chose to have when she was a teenager. In this thoughtful and thought-provoking story, she considers who she was as a teenager, and how that choice is both a tragedy and another step along the path that led to who she is now: married, successful, and ready on all levels for motherhood. This is what I mean by the content warning. There’s nothing gratuitous or thrown into the book in order to shock readers, but readers, especially readers with similar traumas or similar experiences, may want to go into this book forewarned.

These twelve stories in Afro-Bougie Blues are fresh and original looks at universal questions of love and loss. Every day families face tragedies or readers meet individuals at a personal crossroads. Characters are often tested by heartbreak, loss, or the smaller disappointments of our lives, and some characters face dark, tragic events, but the overall feeling of this book isn’t depressing. These blues are relatable experiences, and through their setbacks, many characters are shown gaining strength from loved ones and making interesting personal discoveries. Warm, supportive friendships and quiet inner strength connect some of the short stories.

The challenge in any short story is developing full, human characters in such a limited space. Wilson succeeds here and brings complicated families and warm friendships to life in just a few pages. In a few cases, readers will see a conflict but still find themselves nodding along with characters on opposite sides. In one story, a married woman begins a queer affair that changes her outlook on love and life. Discovering this new side of herself brings light and joy into her everyday life, even deepening the understanding in her marriage and with her children.

In another story, a habitual cheater faces the horrible consequences of his actions, forever. His irresponsibility catches up with him in a meaningful, dark way that can still never make it right for his children. The author never shies away from showing a character’s raw emotions. She shows our likable characters making mistakes, sometimes at great cost, and she brings out a sympathetic hint in the more unlikable characters, too.

There are no recurring characters in this collection and the setting and mood change in each story. It’s suitable for reading with breaks between the stories since each one stands alone. I found one story, Transformations, slightly flat. I was unsure what the epistolary format or even the secondary character Cecilia added to the story of BeBe’s reinvention. But in a collection of a dozen short stories, eleven unique and moving stories is a pretty great ratio.

Overall, Afro-Bougie Blues is a solid short story collection of memorable characters facing love and loss. —ManyBooks

Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen-Amy Winehouse.— Afro-Boogie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction by Lauren Wilson.

Afro-Bougie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction by Lauren Wilson is an anthology of twelve extraordinary short stories that deal with the lives of ordinary African American men and women facing life’s challenges head-on.

This collection features an assortment of stories the next more poignant than the last. And Wilson pulls no punches when she tackles such subjects as abortion, alcoholism, and even a single father tasked with trying to discuss love and sex with his teenage daughter.

As a mother of two, I really felt the pain of the female protagonist who first had an abortion and then later on kept having miscarriages. Or the story of the gentleman with post-traumatic stress disorder. After giving his service to his country his reward was to live in a waking nightmare. A nightmare where he daily sees children the age of his daughter dying with homemade bombs.

I lived in Frankfort, KY at one time and attended K.S.U. I very much appreciated the historical research that went into the story that featured this small but thriving city. I cringed while reading about the dilemma faced by the young woman meeting her boyfriend’s mother for the first time and the subsequent age-old problem of light skin versus dark skin rearing its ugly head.

While I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories, sometimes I longed for a little more description. Wilson has a great way of helping readers empathize with her characters. With a smidge more of descriptive nuances, it would truly breathe life into her remarkable protagonists. In every story I had no trouble feeling what the characters felt, I know that with a little more description, I can truly see them better as well as see the world as they see it.

I give Afro-Bougie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction by Lauren Wilson 4 out of 5 stars from Affirmative Action, dashed hopes and dreams, to adulterous confessions Afro-Bougie Blues has it all. —Wymanette Castaneda – Reedsy/Discovery

Book Review by Instagram Reviewer Read_By_Heart

I am not overemphasizing, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey this book, Afro-Bougie Blues, took me on. I was NOT prepared for this book to rip my heart out.

Dear Lauren Wilson, thank you for writing this book! I’ve taken a long time to pen this note down. That’s because I wasn’t able to process the emotions I felt after reading Afro-Bougie Blues. I most adore the woman in one story who was trying to conceive and went through miscarriages. She is so strong and her strength is admirable. And I sincerely believe that this book is a must-read.

You’ll learn what emotional intelligence is and how it impacts your attitude. Through this sensitive and emotional prose, the author manages to bring to life a range of emotions, experiences, and stories that will resonate with readers on a deeper level.

What makes Afro-Bougie Blues particularly special is the author’s keen sense of observation, which allows her to craft powerful and engaging illustrations that will stay with the reader long after you’ve turned the last page. Whether exploring themes of love, warmth, compassion, or empathy, the author’s writing is always engaging, thought-provoking, and deeply moving.

Afro-Bougie Blues is a collection of stories expressing profound love, grief, and moving on. Though this is a fictional book, real-life things are happening. I loved that it was an emotional and thought-provoking collection of short stories.

The author brilliantly integrates the struggles that people deal with in everyday life. The characters and stories are very relatable. The author does an excellent job exemplifying those struggles and educating us about crucial topics such as abortion, infertility, miscarriage, teenage love, parents confronting their children’s misunderstandings, friendships and so much more. —Instagram Reviewer, Read_By_Heart

Purchase Afro-Bougie Blues: A Collection of Short Fiction by Lauren Wilson
Genre: African American contemporary fiction


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