Putting all of that aside, the most disappointing part has to be the teasing of Eva looking into her family history, rediscovering her roots, and having it go… nowhere. Seriously, after all that, we get a few paragraphs and texts, and that’s it? I was really looking forward to, at the very least, Eva’s conversation with Audre about all of the creative writing she’d been doing about their family. I wish this had been allowed more time and space because it was one of the most interesting parts of the narrative.
Now for the good stuff. Williams made Eva’s chronic pain such a central theme of her character that it’s impossible to separate her from her invisible disability. Brutally honest in its depiction, she escapes social events to inject painkillers, mothers from the fetal position, is constantly monitoring her pain levels and triggers and has found a way to live her life while her vision melts and her head explodes. It never felt repetitive, but it was apparent that it was and always had been a massive part of Eva’s life.
I loved all the overlaps between real life and Seven Days in June. Conversations about Black characters in novels who are only allowed to suffer in a novel rife with addiction, trauma, abuse, and violence. The plot in this messy, complex, incredibly serious book with some very steamy erotic scenes addresses erotic romance fiction being excluded from ‘real literature.’ There were so many moments where it felt like Williams was tapping me on the shoulder to say, ‘ Do you see what I did there?’ It speaks to the realism of this narrative and how easily it could be a true story.
Seven Days in June felt like a true celebration of Black culture, an honest depiction of generational trauma, and above all else, it was a genuinely compelling read. Something feels a bit unfinished – just missing the point, but still close to the target. I may have some complicated feelings about how to rate it overall, but Eva and Shane’s chemistry cannot be denied, and William’s writing is captivating and smart.