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The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard
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The Talented Ribkins (edition 2017)

by Ladee Hubbard (Author)

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463356,634 (3.89)1
Member:jbradbury79
Title:The Talented Ribkins
Authors:Ladee Hubbard (Author)
Info:Melville House (2017), 304 pages
Collections:Read Jan - Dec '17
Rating:***1/2
Tags:11/14/2017

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The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard

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well... this is a bit of a quirky read - from the plot to the characters - and it has a sweet heart. there's dabbling in magical realism as ribkins family members all have special, unusual abilities; there's a heist-type feel to the reading as histories are explored; and there's... florida. florida in all it's zaniness. readers can often be heard to lament the lack of "different" stories, or "new" stories. i would say the talented ribkins is both of these things. i did find the flow of the read a bit clunky, but overall this is a good debut novel. ( )
  Booktrovert | Feb 8, 2018 |
Johnny Ribkins has one week to come up with the money that he stole from his ruthless mob boss. He has been fortunate to make it to seventy- two years old, but recent developments are putting future birthdays in peril. Johnny’s past is filled with crimes committed with his deceased half brother Franklin, and together they buried cash and jewelry all over the state of Florida. Johnny meets his thirteen year old niece Eloise while stopping at one of his burial sites. Circumstances push the two unlikely characters together and Eloise joins him on his task.

Johnny reconnects with “The Justice Committee”, a 1960’s civil rights group supported by the Ribkins family. Group members have the gift of special powers which they used to their advantage. Johnny’s father could see unique colors while Franklin could scale walls and their cousin could belch fires. Johnnys’ skill is the ability to make maps of any location without the need to visit. While completing his quest, Johnny draws on his skills while teaching Eloise about her own inherited abilities.

Interesting characters are introduced throughout the story, and Johnny obtains knowledge of his past from each of them. This is a debut novel from Ladee Hubbard. ( )
  leopolds | Oct 1, 2017 |
What a fantastic book. I will admit right up front that I think I need to read it at least once more to fully understand it and I believe it deserves a second reading because there is so much going on. It’s one of those books where you focus in one are and totally miss some fine points in another. It’s written on several levels and can be read as a simple tale of an uncle finding himself while on a forced trip in the search for money to pay someone back. Or it’s allegory for the Civil Rights battle that sadly is still being fought in this country. Actually it’s both and when the two come together magic happens.

As any of you who read my reviews regularly know, I don’t go in for books that happen over my head because I am the first to admit I’m not smart enough for them. This book does that to some degree but I had serious glimpses of what was going on up there so I am sure the second (or third) reading will bring me to a full understanding. Even if I never get there this is a delightful book full of some of the quirkiest characters I have had the pleasure to meet on paper in a long, long time.

The Ribkins are all born with a unique talent – it’s always something otherworldly and it’s something that sets them apart. Johnny Ribkins can make maps without ever being there. His brother could scale buildings. Johnny has a small problem – while working for a rather shady individual he appropriated some money and now his boss wants that money back. He sets off to get it in various places he’s got it buried. One of them being his brother’s house – his dead brother. While there he learns that he has a niece that he did not know existed. A series of circumstances leads to her joining Johnny as he seeks his buried money.

What follows is a journey of discovery for Johnny, his niece Eloise, and the reader. Johnny’s travels take him to family, friend’s and enemies and as he gathers his assets he learns that the past is maybe not what he thought it was and the future can be much more than he thought it was going to be.

I had the world’s hardest time putting this book down and I truly wanted to turn around and start it right over again. That hasn’t happened in quite some time for me. All of these characters are a true delight and I wanted to continue on with them. I want to know more. Is that not the joy of reading? This book is very different. You have to let go of what is real in some cases and just accept the story. Just do it and you will be rewarded with a remarkable tale that is both quirky and very deep. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Aug 25, 2017 |
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"At seventy-two, Johnny Ribkins shouldn't have such problems: He's got one week to come up with the money he stole from his mobster boss or it's curtains for Johnny. What may or may not be useful to Johnny as he flees is that he comes from an African-American family that has been gifted with rather super powers that are rather sad, but superpowers nonetheless. For example, Johnny's father could see colors no one else could see. His brother could scale perfectly flat walls. His cousin belches fire. And Johnny himself can make precise maps of any space you name, whether he's been there or not. In the old days, the Ribkins family tried to apply their gifts to the civil rights effort, calling themselves The Justice Committee. But when their, eh, superpowers proved insufficient, the group fell apart. Out of frustration Johnny and his brother used their talents to stage a series of burglaries, each more daring than the last. Fast forward a couple decades and Johnny's on a race against the clock to dig up loot he's stashed all over Florida. His brother is gone, but he has an unexpected sidekick: his brother's daughter, Eloise, who has a special superpower of her own."--… (more)

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