On December 28, 2012 by Imani M. Stephen

Curl Up with a Good Book: Hello Diva


A good book, like a good movie, is about personal investment. I want to be invested in the characters and the story when I read a book. I want to care about what’s going on. Otherwise, what’s the point? It will just be unnecessary words on a page.

Well, I’ve just recently finished reading a worthwhile investment by passionate author and publishing entrepreneur Dana Ellington, entitled Hello Diva. Once I said “hello,” I was in no rush to say “goodbye.”

You know you’ve curled up with a good book when you feel a personal connection to a character. I couldn’t wait to find out what was to become of our protagonist, Charise. As a woman, I don’t think Dana could have written a more relatable character. It seems that no matter how strong we are or we think we are, there is always that internal struggle with our appearance. How do we, as women, reconcile the way we look on the outside with how we feel on the inside? How do we find balance? Dana’s protagonist takes us on her journey to discover self as she navigates the ebb and flow of dealing with friends, career, family, tragedy, and, of course, love. But Charise isn’t some overly dramatic woe-is-me character. She is real, funny, and engaging. She is by no means “one-note.” You may at times find her decisions frustrating or, dare I say, stupid, but who among us hasn’t done something stupid in our lives. That’s what’s so relatable about her character. Ultimately, I am rooting for her from beginning to end.

What is so wonderful about the book’s structure is that it is written in first person narrative. I think this was a smart choice by Dana because it allows us to “get the skinny from the horse’s mouth” so to speak. Who better to tell your story than you? The decision to write the novel in first person creates a character-centered story that I couldn’t help but be drawn to. This decision also gives the main character a vulnerability and genuineness that make her even more likable. It’s as if I was in on secrets that only she and I shared. By using first person, Dana gives us the “good stuff,” the stuff that people only tell their trusted therapists and religious leaders behind closed doors.

Dana delivers the plot so smoothly. She provides just the right balance between exposition and dialogue. As a writer, I know that can be difficult to do when you so desperately want others to see what you see in your work, but she did it effortlessly. There were no parts that I thought lagged on without reason. There were no long diatribes to sort out. Instead, the narrative was just enough, and the dialogue was crisp and witty. I’d tear up at times and laugh aloud at others, and such is the nature of life, is it not? Not only did it appeal to my emotion, but also to my senses. Dana’s descriptions of setting and sound paint a vivid picture, while her sexy scenes truly awaken any sense that may be napping!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In the best way, it reminded me of the most vulnerable side of myself. It reminded me that I am, like many of us who can admit it, a work in progress. Hello Diva is fun, genuine, sexy, and touching. I recommend you delve into this story and support the work of this amazing independent author!