Synopses & Reviews
New from the author of the national bestseller The Hearts of Men: a novel about one man’s quest to end his cheating ways.
Women have flocked to Genesis Styles ever since he was a teenager. He’s a good-looking, smooth-talking former pro-basketball player, but he has a problem: He has never been satisfied with just one woman. Then he meets Terri and everything changes. Sort of.
Genesis knows that Terri is perfect for him, and he asks her to marry him. But Genesis just can’t seem to stop cheating on Terri nearly every chance he gets. Genesis’s best friend, Prodigy, constantly warns him that he’s going to mess up the best thing ever to happen to him, but Genesis is not ready to listen.
After dealing with a family crisis, Genesis realizes the importance of his relationship with Terri, and he begins to change his cheating ways. He knows that once he says “I do,” everything will fall into place. But it may be too late, because one of his past indiscretions comes back to haunt him, and now Terri may have a few surprises of her own. . . .
Now that he's about to get married, can Genesis Styles figure out what it takes to commit to one woman for the rest of his life?
About the Author
Travis Hunter is the bestselling author of The Hearts of Men as well as a songwriter and motivational speaker. He lives in an Atlanta suburb with his son, Rashaad. He is the founder of The Hearts of Men Foundation, through which he mentors underprivileged children. He is currently working on his third novel, It’s a Man’s World. To learn more about Travis and his books, visit his website at www.travishunter.com.
Reading Group Guide
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Travis Hunter’s Married but Still Looking
. We hope they will provide new insights and ways of looking at this fast-paced, entertaining novel.
1. Genesis decides that Terri is the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and he asks her to marry him. Why does Genesis almost immediately begin cheating on Terri after their engagement? Do you think that Terri was aware that Genesis had been cheating on her? Why would Genesis ask Terri to marry him if he wasn’t done sleeping with other women? Is it all right to sleep with other people, as long as you stop once you say “I do”?
2. When Yolanda leaves Gabrielle in Terri’s store, Terri instantly bonds with the baby and considers keeping her to raise. Why does Terri feel such a strong connection with Yolanda’s baby? Should Terri be angry that Yolanda left this child and took off on a bus? Is Terri right to consider keeping the baby, or should she turn the baby over to the authorities as an abandoned child? Is it fair of Terri to introduce a new baby into Genesis’s life?
3. Once Terri and Nina start planning the wedding, Genesis and Prodigy complain about how wrapped up women get in the whole procedure. Are they right to complain? Do women get too wrapped up in the material part of a wedding and lose sight of the emotional commitment involved? Is Terri too wrapped up in planning her wedding? Does this prevent her from realizing what Genesis is doing behind her back? Have you ever been involved in planning a wedding? If yes, what was the experience like?
4. Genesis resents his brother Grover very much. He feels that Grover is not a father to his son, Jalen, and that he funnels all of his money into drugs and alcohol. Should Genesis be more compassionate towards Grover, or has he already given his brother enough chances? Can a drug and alcohol addict ever be a good parent to their child? Is Grover a good father to Jalen? Do you think that one day he will be capable of being a good father to his son?
5. Throughout her life, Phyllis never dated black men. Was this a conscious decision for her? If yes, why would she decide not to date black men? Phyllis’s mother says that if Phyllis could slip out of her skin, she would. Is this true? Is Phyllis unhappy that she’s black? Have you ever wished that you were born a different color? In what ways do you think that your life would be different?
6. When he was a child, Genesis always saw his father with lots of women. And, Genesis truly believed his father when he told him to date lots of women and always have at least two girlfriends. At what point in his life should Genesis have understood that this was bad advice? What do you think was going through Grover Sr.’s head when he gave Genesis advice about women? Is it possible to sleep with lots of women and still lead a fulfilling life? Do you know people who are content to sleep around and not pursue any serious relationships?
7. In the weeks before their wedding, Terri is in a much more comfortable financial position than Genesis. While Genesis is struggling to make ends meet since his basketball money ran out, Terri is planning an addition to her store. Are either Terri or Genesis uncomfortable with their current financial situations? Why do you think that Genesis doesn’t tell Terri that he’s a little short on cash because of all the wedding expenses? Would it be acceptable for Terri to contribute money towards paying for the wedding? Is it important to keep separate accounts after getting married, or is it better to have a joint account?
8. Before heading off to his bachelor party, Genesis gets a call from Prodigy saying that there won’t be any strippers at the party. Does Genesis have a right to get angry about this? Are strippers a necessary element of a bachelor party? Should Prodigy have teased Genesis, knowing what a tough time his friend was having? Is the lack of strippers enough to explain why Genesis would solicit a prostitute? Is there ever an acceptable reason for soliciting a prostitute?
9. After Terri finds out about the incident with Genesis and the prostitute, she tells Genesis that the wedding is off. Then, Terri’s mother tells her to try and work through this with Genesis. Who had the right impulse, Terri or her mother? Is it possible for Terri to forgive Genesis after finding out that he solicited a prostitute? Should she believe Genesis when he tells her that he’ll change? Would you agree to marry a man after you found out that he had solicited a prostitute a week before your wedding?
10. When Prodigy is shot by James, he reverts to his old ways and calls in his cousin from Philadelphia. He asks his cousin to kidnap and torture James, and then to kill him. Why does Prodigy go back to his old ways so fast? Does James deserve to be killed after all that he did to Prodigy’s family? Does Genesis get Prodigy to change his mind, or does Prodigy come to that decision on his own? Do you think that Prodigy would have been able to live with himself if he had had James killed? If someone hurts you, should you exact revenge?
11. When Terri walks down the aisle at her wedding, she’s holding Gabrielle and a picture of Yolanda. She tells Genesis that Gabrielle is his daughter. Until that moment, did Genesis know that Gabrielle was his child? Should Genesis have come clean with Terri about everything before the wedding? Would Terri still have agreed to marry him? Are there some secrets that husbands and wives should keep from each other, or is it better to be upfront and honest about everything?
In your new novel, Married but Still Looking
, Genesis Styles seems to have everything going for him - he's handsome, smooth talking, successful. Yet he has definite problems with commitment. Why do you think men like Genesis are scared of settling down? What does it mean to be "married but still looking," and what does it take for Genesis to end his cheating ways?
Travis Hunter: Genesis' problem with committing to women goes deeper than his just being a self-centered person. His behavior was passed down from his father, a man who didn't know how to treat women. I suppose a lot of men are afraid of settling down for a number of reasons. For instance, some men have a certain conception of what a "wife" should be, and many women don't fit that mold. These men fear a power struggle within the home — they don't want to have to fight their wives in order to "wear the pants" in their own homes. Another reason that some men stay single might be that women simply outnumber men. The man who fears commitment might say, "Why should I give up all of my options just to be with one woman?" I mean, I could go on and on with guesses why some men do what they do, but I know one thing for sure: when that special lady comes into your life, you had better be ready to step up to the plate and be a man or you'll be "married but still looking." The title phrase "Married but Still Looking" could mean different things to different people. To me it means searching for happiness once you're married WITHIN your relationship.
RH: In this novel you present siblings who are dealing with some heavy issues: infidelity, drug abuse, racism. What was your purpose for doing this?
TH: We all have to deal with the past. Whether it is a good past or a bad past, we have to deal with it and try not to let it dictate the future. In Married but Still Looking I show how one family's past has set a negative tone for the rest of their lives. My message is this: move beyond the past. Learn from the past and take the good memories with you, but get rid of the negative baggage and live your life.
RH: Your first novel, The Hearts of Men, was a huge success. What themes did you carry through to Married but Still Looking? What differences should your readers expect?
TH: I try to write positive fiction or better yet "faction." The best stories, I believe, are those that seem to take place in real life. The carry-over from my first novel into my second is the theme of responsibility. A man must be responsible for his own actions. While the main message of responsibility is present in each novel, my characters confront responsibility in different ways. In my first novel, The Hearts of Men, the lead character Prodigy Banks had someone practically take his hand and lead him into true manhood. In Married but Still Looking, the lead character, Genesis Styles, has to bump his head a few times and figure out on his own what it takes to be a real man.
RH: The need for positive black male role models is one of your main messages. Can you tell us a little bit about the Hearts of Men foundation?
TH: Well, The Hearts of Men Foundation is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that I founded in 1999 with the purpose of helping to mold the minds of young black men. (We don't discriminate against any child in need — boys and girls of all races and religions are welcomed.) We have rap sessions and we try to provide a positive influence in the kids' lives.
RH: When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? How did you make that dream into a reality?
TH: I started writing The Hearts of Men because I wanted the guys in my organization, The Hearts of Men Foundation, to start reading. The idea of writing a full-length novel was kind of overwhelming, so I started with short stories. The praise I received from those who read my stories encouraged me to pull them together into a full-length novel. I self-published The Hearts of Men and took a few books to the BookExpo America in Chicago of 2000 where I met my current editor Melody Guy. A week later she called me to ask if I'd like to have Random House/Strivers Row republish my novel on a national level. The rest is history.
RH: What's next for you? Are you working on another novel?
TH: Well, right now I'm working on my third novel, It's A Man's World. I'm trying my hand at a screenplay and my second novel, Married but Still Looking, will hit the stores May 14, 2002.
RH: How can your readers get in contact with you?
TH: They can e-mail me at Thunter142@aol.com or visit my web site www.TravisHunter.com. I answer all of my e-mails personally so please tell me what's on your mind.
RH: Is there anything else you'd like to say specifically to your fans out in cyberspace?
TH: I'd like to thank each and every one of you guys for the support. Keep telling your friends and family about my work and I'll do my best to keep bringing you interesting stories with humor and drama. Take care and much love to you all.