MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewAmbitious ... The novel works best as a bildungsroman, with Nkrumah elevating a young girl’s struggles with intense colorism, the traumas of abuse and betrayal and her eventual ability to love herself. However, as an exploration of racial strife in the American South, the novel has its shortcomings. There is a heavy-handed epistolary subplot detailing a young white girl’s induction into white supremacy, and issues that require a modicum of closure for the reader...aren’t adequately addressed by the denouement or accounted for by Ella’s personal growth ... While this book does touch on important topics, like colorism in the Black community, as well as the parasitic nature of white supremacy, the novel doesn’t quite carry the load of the heavier elements in the story.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewA sharp sense of purpose sheathed in humor glints through every story, which are delightfully varied in subgenre, voice and time period ... As with most fairy tales, there is a warning aspect to Babalola’s stories. Some examine the less vibrant shades of love, like partners who seek to possess and dim their lovers rather than amplify their brightness. There is a subtle emphasis on how romantic relationships, which should be a safe haven, can instead reduce women to objects and caretakers whose work is unreciprocated ... The golden thread woven through the stories is the power—the necessity—of being seen ... In telling these stories, Babalola herself becomes the seer and the seen, subversively providing a corrective to both the Western idea of who gets to indulge in love for love’s sake and whose myths are worthy of retelling ... One of the pleasures, and occasional pitfalls, of such a collection is that each story can differ vastly from the one that preceded it. A few of the stories don’t quite hit their marks, but Babalola’s writing shines whether she’s writing parry-riposte banter or fresh, evocative interiority ... Love in Color, as a whole, is a strong and necessary reset of who is the seer, who is the seen, and who gets to do both.