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Loving Donovan

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,215 ratings  ·  161 reviews
The first section of this unconventional love story belongs to Campbell. Despite being born to a broken-hearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love...if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the "little man" of a shattered home-a family ...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published January 27th 2003 by Dutton Adult
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Christina Yes it does! Robin Miles is the narrator, and she us fantastic.

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  1,215 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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This year I have committed myself to reading the works of three authors: James Baldwin, Bernardine Evaristo and Bernice L. McFadden.

Loving Donovan is the first novel that I have read for this challenge this year. It is the third book that I have read from Ms. McFadden. One commonality that I have found in her books is that they get to the heart of human emotion. Her characters and their backstories have so much depth and are complex. You can't help but identify with their pain and their joy. Ev
Brown Girl Reading
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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
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. ...more
J Beckett
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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)

Leslie Reese
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a complaint about this book within the first 100 pages but, ultimately, the prose, the drama, and the emotion of the story won out!
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sharon D. Moore
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
really sad but it pulled me in right away and i couldn't put it down - very well written ...more
Lesa Divine
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Read In Colour
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Crystal (Melanatedreader) Forte'
Auntie B has taken me through all of the phases of a jaded relationship in this one. She goes from the conception of man all the way to the ends of his aint shit ways. A look into the longing for love that all of us women know to well.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: diaspora
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
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. ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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)
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
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
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
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. ...more
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.
Kisha (BooksAndBeautyMarks)
The way in which Bernice L. McFadden is able to tell Black stories with such brilliance is a lot for my heart and mind. I just...I feel like my words will never be enough to suffice just how beautiful, raw, real, and BLACK her books are, for myself and for our community. Loving Donovan shattered my heart into pieces, do you understand me. Our experience of life and loving one another as best as we’ve been equipped to sometimes simply isn’t enough sometimes. But we take and deal with being broken ...more
Jamise | Spines & Vines
Full review to come but let me just say BernIce McFadden is the GOAT! She’s a master storyteller, simply brilliant!!
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Ye'Vell Hopkins
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? ...more
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The Reader's Bar: July Book Discussion-Loving Donovan 22 18 Jul 23, 2013 09:35AM  

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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

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“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
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