Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Loving Donovan” as Want to Read:
Loving Donovan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Loving Donovan

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,138 ratings  ·  143 reviews
"Bernice L. McFadden is one of the best contemporary literary writers out there today...Her brilliance, her talent as a novelist, is the very life she breathes into all of her characters."
--Terry McMillan, from the Introduction

"Bernice L. McFadden was one of the best writers to emerge in the post-Waiting to Exhale explosion that introduced at least a dozen Black female nov
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Akashic Books (first published January 27th 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Loving Donovan, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Christina Yes it does! Robin Miles is the narrator, and she us fantastic.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,138 ratings  ·  143 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Loving Donovan
Brown Girl Reading
Loving Donovan is the third novel I’ve picked up from Bernice L. McFadden. And I surely won’t wait so long to pick up another. I previously read Glorious and then Gathering of Waters. I really enjoyed both of these books. In light of Loving Donovan being re-released this year with a modern fresh new cover, I was enticed to pick it up. Loving Donovan, as all of McFadden’s work, shares some unique characteristics that define particularities in her writing style. She manages to balance character de ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading "Loving Donovan" and it brought me to uncontrollable tears at the end. Ms. McFadden is a MASTERFUL storyteller. The pivotal moment in Donovan's childhood was so deftly brought to life by the author, that it made nauseous. This story, this love between Campbell and Donovan, hit a very raw nerve with me. Their separate stories, the stories within the stories were expertly woven. I can't say enough good things about this book. Over the last year, Bernice McFadden has become ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again. Again with her captivating writing, her ability to make me feel so strongly about her characters and her stories. This was such a good read and I couldn't put it down. Great, heartbreaking story, and for some (myself included) will touch close to home.
J Beckett
Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden
Bernice L. McFadden

Terri McMillan writes in the introduction of Bernice McFadden’s novel, Loving Donovan:

“…I was struck by how much Bernice tackles in this seemingly straightforward story of romance. And while she addresses difficult topics such as pedophilia, domestic abuse, homophobia, abortion, depression, suicide, she writes with such finesses that she doesn’t leave the reader in total despair. Saddened at times, yes, but throughout it all, Bernice gives her characters hope.” (page 8)

Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story that I hear of in the forums and on social media amongst the brothas and the sistas. This is the story that the fellas always say isn't true and that the ladies are merely perpetuating this exaggerated dynamic that is only true in their minds. Minds with overly active and unhinged imagination.

I loved this book and the undercurrents of our social ills. I have met a Campbell and a Donovan. I am a Campbell and in some ways a Donovan too.

and yet love transcends all things and whe
Lesa Divine
4.5 🌟

Go into the lives of Campbell as a child plus her family past.

Going into Donovan's past as a child including his family past too.

To grow up and see black love but it's not all great due some keep their past on their shoulders.

Enjoyable, sad, cute at times. I loved.
Sharon D. Moore
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought
One mark of a great novel is the intense emotion it causes the reader to feel. I came away from listening to this audiobook with one all-encompassing thought and one strong emotion: I intensely hate Grammy. I can’t even feel sorry for her, her lot in life, etc. Grammy represents every person who has allowed circumstances and their own poor decisions to warp their psyche. She is a bitter manipulative, crazy, pathetic, lonely, controlling creature who spews acidic-like venom over everyone unfortun ...more
Tani schwartz
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really sad but it pulled me in right away and i couldn't put it down - very well written
Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars

The title of this novel is somewhat misleading. While yes, there is plenty of love to be found within these pages, it is almost obscured by the many harrowing scenes that make up most of the novel.
McFadden's writing is both direct and expressive which made her story all the more vivid. The narrative follows Campbell and Donovan from the childhood to their adulthood. Although we know from the prologue that these two characters will at some point meet and fall in love, most of the n
Melissa Kayanda
One thing that stuck is that, guys are douchebags. This is true. But when this happens, more often than not, it's because he's battling his own demons. A literary "It's not you, it's me" thing.

I liked this book.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
To be fair to Ms. McFadden, whose prose is a joy to read, Loving Donovan deserves a 5 for her ability to turn a phrase and to make her characters rise off the page and become flesh and blood for the time you read this novel. I loved Campbell. I felt empathy for Donovan and Luscious. The reason I rated Loving Donovan a 3, however, was because there seemed to be no arc or purpose to this story and it ended abruptly. I suspect that this would have worked better either as a novella, or as a longer n ...more
Read In Colour
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I love this book, but I swear to God it is not the book to read if you have unresolved feelings about an ex. When I read it a few years ago, I wasn't really affected by it. I listened to it this time around & I was ready to kick stuffed animals before it was all over. ...more
Lisa Jablonsky
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written and easy to read. Insight into a world different than mine. What isn't different is the painstaking heartbreak when a man you love and adore with every fiber of your being kicks you to the curb for no apparent reason. It breaks you.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book off Goodreads from Akashic Books - so thank you first to both!

This book captures the lives of Campbell and Donovan and is separated into three parts. Throughout the book you learn more about their separate pasts (with some surprises no less!) culminating in their paths crossing in a "6 degrees of separation" kind of way.

I haven't read anything by Bernice L. McFadden before, but definitely hope to get to some more of her books later on. She writes her characters so well, you can'
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good structure, and this novel has it -- one section for "Her," divided up by age from childhood to young adulthood; one section for "Him," set up the same way. Then a final section for "Them," when they are in their 30s, hurt, lonely, and isolated. We know from the first page that this isn't ultimately going to work out, but it's the getting there and being there that is the important thing, not what happens after. McFadden's characters have had rough lives -- abuse, rape, teenage moth ...more
Jul 13, 2017 added it
I was excited to read a story about a romance but Bernice McFadden was a little too realistic with this one. Of all the emotions I felt for various characters, I never felt any love for Donovan. I didn't even like him. From the start he was really lazy about dating Campbell. I couldn't understand why she was so sprung but that was one of McFadden's points...

The story is set up in three sections: Her, Him, and Them. The first two sections give us all the family histories and the traumas that make
Lisa (LiteraryLatinax)
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a review. I must say, I didn't really know much about it and didn't think I would get too into it. Once I started reading, I was consumed right away. I truly enjoyed reading this book. You have "her" which is Campbell, "him" which is Donovan then "their story" of them coming together. I like that each person's story was divided so you knew why they acted a certain way, their thinking and their emotions which ultimately affected their future. ...more
Joy Wright
I had just finished Sugar and got my hands on this one. I again live McFadden's writing and her ability to tell the stories so many want to hide. However, I admit that the ending felt abrupt and incomplete. I found myself needing ore closure on Donovan.
Sarah Weathersby
Amazing story of broken families, broken lives, people whose paths cross through many times in their lives. So much hurt and enough blame to pass around. And still there is hope for a perfect love.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. McFadden draws my in, and doesn't let me go until the end of her books. What an outstanding writer. Her characterizations are so well rounded out and I just can't help feel that I am a part of the story throughout. Beautifully written. Sometimes it's hard to relate to characters decisions throughout a story, but realizing this is life, its more understandable. I have a few more books of hers to read. I'm sure I will enjoy them.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are books I would over read over and over again. "Loving Donovan" is one of those books. I'm always hopeful when I read books about relationships between men and women. The optimist in me that believes love will conquer all, keeps me turning pages and crossing my fingers that everything will turn out for the lovers. After I read the last page, I wondered about men. Why can't some of them commit? Why do some of them walk away from their wives? Why do some of them abandon their children? The ...more
Erica "RivaFlowz"
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Loving Donovan was incredibly well written. I love how Bernice McFadden manages to capture depth of each and every character, none too poignant or minute. She seems to have two short stories--both about the hurt of growing up that converge into a really short love story. I must say, I yearned to read more increments of the love between Donovan and Campbell. Their relationship started very late in the book and ended on a note that left me wanting so much more. RIP to their union.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an amazingly well written story that just broke your heart. With so many things going on in people's lives it is hard to remember that everyone has their demons and secrets. I fell in love with McFadden's characters and the drama that they were going through. I was also wondering if they were ever going to find out the connection between a few of them. Pick up this book and read it. It is about two families growing up and different generations coming together.
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I know from the first page that the love story is ill-fated I still wanted their love story to succeed and was crushed when it wasn't. Yet another great book from Bernice L. McFadden that speaks to how our childhood traumas and experiences shape who we become as adults and deal with other people in our lives.
Ye'Vell Hopkins
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I held out hope that something good would come from so much pain. This book definitely imitated life...not everyone gets their "happily ever after." I'm not mad at the author though, it was her story to tell, but I would love for her to give Donovan another chance, in another book, somewhere down the line, perhaps after his evil a*s grand mamma is dead. Please?
Valarie Graham
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent love story, painful and moving. After finishing the book, I immediately went back and read the prologue and understood. What we don't know about the person we love can affect us the most profound ways. Bernice McFadden is now one of my favorite writers.
Great book, will recommend to others
Winter Sophia Rose
Poetic, Rhythmic, Captivating & Moving! A Beautiful, Heartfelt Story! I Loved It! ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This ending was haaaard. I’m typing and crying at the same time! Praying for a sequel. This book was one of the most REALISTIC love stories I’ve read in a long time. Our childhoods and our traumatic experiences truuuly shape our lives and how we handle relationships— This book doesn’t sugarcoat that! I loved it even though I’m bawling my eyes out!

wait... what?? 💔💔
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Reader's Bar: July Book Discussion-Loving Donovan 22 18 Jul 23, 2013 09:35AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Perfect Peace
  • Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale #1)
  • The Darkest Child
  • Grown
  • It's Not All Downhill from Here
  • Disappearing Acts
  • How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  • A Day Late and a Dollar Short
  • I Almost Forgot About You
  • Getting to Happy (Waiting To Exhale #2)
  • Twisted
  • The Side Effects of You
  • Higher Love (Love After #1)
  • The Untelling
  • Leaving Cecil Street
  • Against the Loveless World
  • Set (Them Boys #1)
  • Grace
See similar books…
BERNICE L. McFADDEN is the author of ten critically acclaimed novels including Praise Song for the Butterflies (Long listed for the 2019 Women's Prize in Fiction ) The Book of Harlan (winner of a 2017 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction) Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ C ...more

News & Interviews

November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
69 likes · 14 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“She giggles at the thought and realizes quite suddenly that Donovan is religion to her.” 0 likes
“She giggles at the thought and realizes quite suddenly that Donovan is religion to her. She folds her hands and bows her head. She’d asked for him. Had” 0 likes
More quotes…