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Book Review “In Between These Sheets”

By Kya Publishing Canada writer, Stacey Marie Robinson

Cleveland author Jameel Davis is not normal. I mean this in the most respectful, and endearing, and celebratory of ways. After reading his book “In Between These Sheets” (that I drove all the way to Cleveland, Ohio to pick up hot off the presses in the summer of 2019), it only reinforced my positive opinion of this brother. He is not normal…he’s definitely outstanding.

The thoughts, the wisdom, the insight, the honesty, the maturity, the social awareness…none of this is standard. The sheer volume that he is able to produce as a writer: also not normal. In the pages of this book, Jameel Davis touched on topics, themes, personal anecdotes, and a range of subjects that make him not only a significant contributor to the ongoing cultural dialogue surrounding these topics, but also a damn good writer.

I know Jameel personally, so it’s hard to not be impressed by this 30-year-old African-American young man. He’s educated. He’s kind. He’s insightful. He’s helpful. He’s an all around stand up fellow that is easy to get along with, and a great creative and professional partner-in-literature. That being said, after finishing this particular book, my perspective of him was confirmed. In addition to the other great characteristics, I really reflected on just how powerful Jameel is as a writer, a speaker, and an influencer overall.

I was initially introduced to this book by the seductive digital marketing campaign that Jameel executed in the months leading up to the book’s release. Only seeing a selection of photos, excerpts, and of course the title, I was truly expecting this book to be something…well, considerably adult in nature. While Jameel isn’t recognized (yet) as a fiction writer, I suspected the content might be poetry-based or even narrative in nature.

The well-coordinated campaign climaxed with an exquisite book release party in downtown Cleveland in August, where friends, family, and supporters gathered in their pajamas for an afternoon soiree to release the book cover and officially launch the project into the literary atmosphere (aka Amazon).

A thoughtful brother by nature, Jameel ensured that not only did he provide the adequate amount of build up to the release of his book, but also that he contextualized it in a way that you could wonder and predict what he had to say…but still wouldn’t really know until you read it.

I was pleasantly surprised. Even having a general idea about the thought behind the concept, I still wasn’t prepared for the depth and significance of the text of “In Between These Sheets.”

Again, it was a well-coordinated, well-orchestrated, and well-thought out process prior to getting to the actual pages of the book. And while we believe the book to primarily focus on activities “between the sheets”…it was a little bit more complicated than that. It definitely got hot and steamy…but the journey to get to that point was much like life. There were lessons, and introductions. Thoughts, and warnings. There were overviews, and musings, and over 300 pages of writing…before getting to the physical activities.

Yet, still keeping the focus on self-love, respect, and progression, the book never lost its dignity. Even when the chapter title is “Sip & Paint” (oh yeah…he went there), there is still an element of elegance to the encounters. The set up and build up was so well-planned that by the time to you get to the actual salaciousness…you have already learned that it’s not salacious at all. In fact, it’s quite beautiful.

That being said, the journey to get to the pleasure took a few pivots along the way. There was definitely no topic left un-turned in this project. Jameel covers a lot of social and cultural ground, approaching issues like family, confidence, single parenthood, dating, financial literacy, messages to black men in particular, and messages to black women.

He speaks as a friend, a peer, a lover, and a family member. He speaks as an educated professional, and in the language of an inner-city neighbour, mixed with a college professor. He approaches topics that are uncomfortable, but with wisdom, bringing comfort to the understanding in which it is rooted.

Some of my favourite passages:

“Sisters, uplift our black brothers. Speak life into them and encourage them to achieve something greater than their eyes can see.”

“Brothers, respect, love, support, protect and care for our children and sisters. Help provide protection in your homes and communities. Be leaders in your home and in the community.”

“No other women can carry our tradition and legacy like our own women.”

“Settling just for that exterior attraction will get you hurt quick. Dig deeper. Don’t date liabilities, date assets. Invest in you.”

“I don’t follow the norm. It is impossible for me to lead that way.”

“I crave to be fed your love and restorative energy.”

“Never let the one who enslaved you, teach you about anything.”

“We are more than just a color. We are the spirits and vibrations, the language and rules, the numbers, religion, science, inventions and tools.”

From family to finance, self-empowerment, and community building, Jameel took the pages of his book “In Between These Sheets” to make sure he equipped his readers and his community-at-large about life. About love, and money, and friendship, and family, and all of the elements that we are faced with when building our own characters, and inevitably connecting with one another on an intimate level.

Who would I recommend this book to? Really, anyone! Any adult can read this book and find a gem about life that will positively influence them. I was truly moved by a few of the passages and took away a few insights that I had never really contemplated before. This book is a wise man’s manifesto, and a chronicling of all of the important information that he has to pass on to his community.

You can sense his urgency, and his authentic passion for communicating messages of empowerment. Again, even without knowing Jameel personally, I would be able to recognize that this book is created specifically for the benefit of personal strength and community sustainability. Without getting too deep into financial literacy or other logistics, it provides the right amount of expertise for the reader to take these tools, explore them further, and thrive.

If I had to pick a specific demographic to read and appreciate this book, I think it would be women. Women of all ages, but particularly younger early career-aged women who haven’t yet learned all of life’s lessons that come with experience and trial-and-error. Young women looking for love. Young women who may be discouraged or mentally exhausted. I would recommend it to young women, because there is something beautifully empowering about having an enlightened man speak this level of kindness to his audience…with nothing to gain but the satisfaction of knowing he helped.

It’s evident. When you read this book, you will feel how much Jameel cares. He cared enough to write almost 400 pages of soulful prose and poetry. He cared enough to dedicate this to the folks that perhaps need it the most, and those who require a bit of a boost and guidebook.

Women can benefit particularly from listening to the voice of a man that’s been there…he’s been in the relationships, and in the conflicts…he’s existed in society as a black man, and he’s been raised by black women. Without being condescending or misogynistic, this male perspective is honest and refreshing, and truthfully…very helpful.

I commend Jameel for this piece of work. I am excited for him, because as I read it I kept thinking to myself…if this is what he’s coming up with NOW…then by the time he hits 35, or 40, or 50…he will be an unstoppable and influential force. He already possesses the character and expertise to lead and teach (and has a busy motivational speaking calendar), and I think that this is truly just the beginning of Jameel’s capabilities not only as a writer but also a leader.

Well done. Well constructed. This book moved me, and it will surely move you as well. In the words of Mr. Davis, “Who you attract is a result of the energy you choose to emit.” For what it’s worth, I’m glad I’ve come across both this book…and it’s author.

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing’s “Urban Toronto Tales” blog.

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