Two and a Possible by Dahni McPhail

Publisher/Date:  Lulu, March 2008
Genre: Romance
Pages:  178

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Love military style is the order of TWO AND A POSSIBLE, the debut novel by Dahni McPhail, who writes a sensitive, insightful story of a black lesbian in the Army.

With the main character of the same name as the author, the life of a private is shown in great detail as she falls in love for the first time against the backdrop of basic training. Dahni leaves home for the first time at 18, headed for an army base with dreams of glory. Drawn to the structure and professionalism of the military, she immediately aspires to climb the ranks as an officer.

That is until Dahni meets her own drill sergeant of pain, Sergeant First Class Jones aka the Jackal. After that, her life is never the same. The Jackal puts Dahni through her paces, torturing her and her fellow privates – christened the Kru – who soon become her sisters-in-crime. Jones gives them hell every single day, and Dahni will never forget the merciless woman.

While being tormented, Dahni manages to have a love life – as much as you can have in the military with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” laws. After surmising her inexperience, Private Sealyn Scott teases Dahni unmercifully with questions. Their flirtation takes a new level when they celebrate graduating basic training; she savors the sweet taste of a woman, but it leaves her confused about what it means about herself and her sexuality. She can’t be attracted to women…can she?

Not helping matters is the fact that she may never see Sealyn again. After being transferred to Germany, Dahni is on her own, with no friends or love in her life. She meets her firecracker roommate, MiMi, a Black-Korean beauty who gets her out of her shell and out of the closet. MiMi shows her that she can love a woman without being scared. It goes effortlessly until Sealyn reappears. Whom will she choose: her first love or her new one?

McPhail has a masterpiece on her hands with Two and a Possible. It combines a love story with a subject she knows well, as she served in the armed forces herself. It’s so finely portrayed you feel like you’re there. The drama is engaging, without being too scandalous. McPhail is definitely a writer to watch, and one I’ll make room for on my shelf.

Reviewed February 2009

3 thoughts to “Two and a Possible by Dahni McPhail”

  1. I was looking forward to picking this book up when I saw the author listed in the lit event during DC pride but she wasn’t there. I guess I’ll have to just order it online.

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