Synopses & Reviews
From a young age CeCe copes with her mother's crippling depression, their severe poverty, an absentee father, and her own insecurities. With gorgeous language, a vivid cast of characters, and an eye for poignant detail, Dasha Kelly tells the story of CeCe's struggle to break free from the grips of codependency and poverty to find confidence and success in her career and her personal life, finally becoming the strong woman she's always dreamed of being.
CeCe couldn't remember when her mother became too weak to carry anything but tears. When the Sad started to come, pressing her mother to their bed, her Mama cried slick silent tears for a long, long time. Longer than a game of hopscotch. Longer than singing the alphabet in her head five times. Longer than a nap, even. The Sad made her mother cry all the time.
Dasha Kelly is a nationally respected spoken word artist and has performed throughout the United States and Canada, appearing on the final season of HBO presents Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam. Dasha holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University and is an alum of the iconic Squaw Valley Writers Community, the former writer-in-residence for the historic Pfister Hotel, and founder of Still Waters Collective, an arts education and community-building initiative. In 2014, Dasha was selected as a US Embassy Arts Envoy to teach and perform in Botswana, Africa.
"A multilayered exploration of the intricate nature of family ties in defining who we are and how, ultimately, we can choose who we want to become."
"Candid and heartfelt, Almost Crimson is a poignant examination of love, family, chronic depression, and the sacrifices we make."
"Dasha Kelly writes with equal parts sweetness and sadness about being a human. She writes about girls and women, family, friendship and aching love. Almost Crimson offers a full teacup of emotions, past and present, delicately balanced on a wildly beating heart. This author, this novelblessings to readers and storytellers alike."
Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War
"Dasha Kelly's Almost Crimson is a beautiful, poignant account of many lives, tremendous intersections, journeys to wholeness, and an exploration of love and community. This book rightly deserves a place alongside the works of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Toni Cade Bambara."
Samuel Thompson, nationally-acclaimed Afro-Classical violinist
"Dasha Kelly's novel Almost Crimson is almost perfect, its structural genius rivaled only by the depth and complexity of its characterizations, the candor and frequent beauty of its understated yet direct prose style, the simultaneous plausibility and unpredictability of its plot, and the importance of its message of survival, perseverance, and ultimate transcendence."
Paul McComas, Midwest Book Award-winning author of Unplugged, Planet of the Dates, and Unforgettable
"Dasha Kelly's Almost Crimson is a debut of rare power and grace. Beautifully written, moving, and wonderfully paced. This book is a must read.
Rob Roberge, musician and author of The Cost of Living
Almost Crimson is what happens when a storyteller with the deft skills of a glassblower takes something as normal as words and transforms them into intricate works of art. Dasha Kelly has spun a vivid and timeless treasure, as only few writers can do.
Freddie Gutierrez, screenwriter for MGM, Nickelodeon and Warner Brothers
"This book drew me in with increasing power. I couldn't put it down. It's a story of survival and redemption, offering a spark of hope and poetic justice for all the kids that raise themselves from neglect and isolation, and those who dare to reach out with encouragement and generosity. Dasha enchants and ensnares the reader with wry wit, lush imagery and measured cadence of a true storyteller."
Asia Freeman, Executive/Artistic Director of Alaska's award-winning Bunnell Street Art Center
"Dasha Kelly writes with an honest heart, her flaws a declaration, her voice a reclamation. Whether youth mentoring or motherhood, sister check-ins or community actionshe is always present, a firewalker challenging the sky with each written line."
Mahogany Browne, Publisher, Penmanship Books
"Readers cannot help but root for CeCe as she struggles, hiding her pain behind grim determination and a strong habit of just putting one foot in front of anotherwalking onwards and upwards to new beginnings. Thumbs up to Dasha on this tour de force, coming-of-age novel!"
Kimberly Graba, Wisconsin Prison Librarian
The uplifting story of CeCe's struggle to overcome her mother's sadness and father's absence and become an independent woman.
About the Author
Dasha Kelly is a nationally-respected writer, artist and social entrepreneur. As a spoken word artist, Dasha has performed throughout the U.S., in Canada and appeared on the final season of HBO presents Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam.
Dasha holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. She is an alum of the iconic Squaw Valley Writers Community, the former writer-in-residence for the historic Pfister Hotel, and founder of Still Waters Collective, an arts education and community-building initiative. In 2014, Dasha was selected as a U.S. Embassy Arts Envoy to teach and perform in Botswana, Africa.
She is the author of one chapbook, Hither, and three books: All Fall Down, Hershey Eats Peanuts, and Call It Forth. Dashas second novel, Almost Crimson, will be released through Curbside Splendor in spring 2015. She lives in Milwaukee, WI.