Who’s Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
“I portray love and desire between a variety of characters in my writing - people who look like me, and whose worldview is similar to my own, or in some cases not. However - and this should be obvious, but - human beings of all kinds fall in love, and have desire, and heartache, and heartbreak. It’s vital that we get to see one another in this sometimes-fire-hot, sometimes-soul-warming, sometimes-icily-devastating-light. It is vital that we see ourselves portrayed in this way. Seeing love of all kinds represented fully, in art as in life, allows us to relate on a level that can be dangerous when lacking.”
Who’s Loving You is an anthology of short stories written by ten critically-acclaimed female writers of colour. As Sareeta Domingo (the anthology’s editor) lays out in the above quote, the aim of this collection is to explore love in all its “romantic, obsessional, messy glory” so as to centre and write to the experiences of Black and Brown women. This anthology never claims to be the complete ‘women of colour’ experience and it would feel redundant if it even tried to be. It's best to just enjoy it for what it is.
I believe the strongest of the stories came in the first half of the book. My personal favourites from the collection include ‘The Watchers’ by Kelechi Okafor, ‘Long Distance’ by Varaidzo and ‘Brief Encounters’ by Sara Collins. Both ‘The Watchers’ and ‘Long Distance’ I liked for their science-fiction elements where characters were spread across different time periods. They were incredibly well written and kept me guessing throughout. I enjoyed ‘Brief Encounters’ namely for its ability to demonstrate the strong connection between love and grief, in the way that grief can bring people together but equally in its capacity to tear relationships apart.
Not limited to ‘Brief Encounters’, many other stories in this collection do encounter some elements of grief or mourning amongst all of the joy and happy moments. So in that sense, this isn’t your typical rom-com and there are some darker themes at play here. In my opinion, this only added to the stories’ significance because it made me feel much more invested in the characters’ and their interests, as well as making the love aspects feel more realistic. I would still say this is a light read, but it is heavier than a Bridget Jones-style romance, so I’d bear that in mind if you are looking to read this book.
Towards the end of Who’s Loving You the narratives became a bit too cheesy for me personally, but I would say this anthology does cater to most tastes and that each reader will find something to take away from these stories. What is impossible not to love about this book is in the way it offers lots of women (yes women, not teenagers) the opportunity to see themselves in love stories that are written about and for them. Kudos to Sareeta Domingo and Trapeze Books for making it happen.