Take Me With You
Running Wild Press (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (11/2021)
I want to say right off the bat, before you sit down and read “Take Me With You” by Vanessa Carlisle, you need to be present, clear-minded, and ready for worlds you might not already know about (or want to know about) to open up before your eyes. Is this a good thing, or bad? That decision is up to you. But I will tell you, from a personal point of view, that although these worlds were new to me, the author deserves honorary applause for making her scenes and characters as real as possible.
Main character, Kindred Powell, is a young woman who has seen and dealt with bigotry, racism, and injustice most of her life. Being from a mixed-race family, Kindred has also had to deal with small minds and a world that doesn’t open many doors for her as life progresses. She even has the traumatic burden of losing her mother to illness and losing her father to the penal system. Carl, her dad, is wrongly incarcerated, leaving Kindred on her own in a very strange and unkempt life. Leaving Los Angeles behind, Kindred heads to New York and not only finds Nautica, her girlfriend, but also finds a niche as a worker in the sex trade, and discovers her very own “boy toy” by the name of Griffin. Yes, these streets are difficult ones, to say the least, but Kindred seems to “take” to the business and learn fast.
Trouble begins when Carl, who is released, quite literally goes missing from Skid Row back in L.A., Kindred turns her life upside-down and begins her quest to find her dad as fast as possible. There are a variety of reasons and people who could be behind his disappearance, when one thinks about it. It’s not like Kindred can go to the cops, considering they may have been involved in Carl just up and vanishing. You see, Carl is an activist and has definite views and things to say that others in society may not like, and his daughter is a person who expresses throughout her journey pure strength and resilience in the face of poverty, dangerous streets and equally dangerous ‘clients’, and even looking at the privileged in a whole different way. In other words, Carl is extremely lucky that he has a daughter who loves him that somehow still holds positivity within her heart.
From scenes that delve into first-class living where Kindred has to keep control over the sexual dynamic at all times in order to keep charge of the situation; to the harsh communities and low-class, dirty streets of the city, where a person could get lost in the drug scene or simply taken out because of their sexual preferences—this author touches upon everything you can think of and more as Kindred grows up and then works her butt off to find facts and the truth in a world led by ‘The Man’.
Extra applause due to the author comes from the fact that she speaks from experience; she opens the doors to the world’s “oldest profession” and reports on the spectrum of information sex workers must learn about consent on a daily basis, as well as how to both hustle and survive. Although not for the meek reader, this is definitely an unforgettable work that should be read!