57. The Object of His Protection
Thursday, November 20, 2008
57. The Object of His Protection
by Sister Souljah
started 11/6 finished 11/17
So, I finished this book a couple of days ago and am ready to post about it now that I have decompressed.
If you are a fan of The Coldest Winter Ever, than you are familiar with the character Midnight. I read it so long ago that I didn't remember, but evidently he is a super-fine brother from Africa who works for a local drug dealer and Winter pursues him heavily. Midnight is sort a prequel that tells how he arrived in America as a boy. It has been 10 years since Sister Souljah's last book, so I was very excited to read this.
- The first few chapters are masterfully written and set up the plot very well
- The lessons passed to Midnight by his father give an accurate account of life as a true Muslim man and the responsibilities that requires.
- It's good to see a Black man in literature that lives by a moral and spiritual code and treats women with reverence and respect.
- The plight of immigrants in this country and their desire to fit in while maintaining their culture is always refreshing.
- The beauty of African culture is always good to read about.
- While African Muslim women (and later some other women) are portrayed virtuous beings to be put on a pedestal, African-American women (who appear here mostly as teenagers) are written as gold-digging, violent, whores.
- Some of the plot has huge holes, although now that I am finished and sure that there will be another book, I am hopeful that those loose ends will be tied up.
- This books has pictures! In a novel! And not pictures of things that will help you with the story like the Da Vinci Code. But actual photographs of models who are meant to represent the characters in the book. That wouldn't be a problem if they even remotely resembled the descriptions. Midnight is supposed to be a blue-black incredibly fine man. No disrespect to the brotha on the cover, but ... Also, one of the characters is described as an artist with a distinct sense of style. The girl in the picture looks like she could care less about getting dressed.
There is quite a bit of ugly. At my job, there were 5 of us reading this book at the same time and we had conversations and debates all day long (in between helping customers, of course). The thing is we were all on the same side! We all had the same problems with the book! I can't reveal the ugly because that would give away most of the plot, especially the ludicrous Monster's Ball moment (as Doret affectionately calls it). I want to tell you not to bother with this book, but I also want you to read it so I can hear your opinion. Please let me know.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
by Paul Beatty
started 10/21 finished 11/5
Wow! This was a journey! I am not a huge jazz fan, but I imagine that reading this book to be akin to a 2 week long improvisational, experimental jazz riff. This man can write!
Slumberland is about an L.A. DJ who is on a quest for the perfect beat. He has a phonographic memory and can identify sounds of all types. While playing a set one night he stumbles upon the perfect beat, but he must have it authenticated by the one musician he idolizes - Charles Stone, known as The Schwa. No one knows where this guy is or what he looks like, but his elusive music causes seismic shifts when played. One day the DJ receives an anonymous package with a video tape in it that shows a man having sex with a chicken (stay with me, now), he recognizes the music playing in the background as The Schwa's. The package has a German postmark so he takes off for that country, landing a job in a bar called Slumberland (patronized by black men and the white women who love them) as a jukebox sommelier.
This book was a trip! Funny and confusing and thoughtful and genius! One of my favorite passages:
"Doris, it's eight degrees in here. Do you know what that is in Fahrenheit?"
"About fifty degrees."
"Fifty-one-point-eight degrees to be exact, which is the temperature at which black men lose their fucking minds. In 1967 when my Uncle Billy turned down a scholarship to UCLA and volunteered to go to Vietnam, it was eight degrees Celsius. On that clear, blue, carry-me-back-to-Ol'-Virginny morning when Nat 'Crazy Like a Fox' Turner looked directly into a solar eclipse and decided there and then to kill every white person in the world - it was eight degrees Celsius. In Rocky II, when Apollo Creed agrees to give Rocky Balboa a rematch in Phila-fucking-delphia, Rocky's hometown, it was eight degrees Celsius, fifty-two fucking degrees."
That had me laughing out loud on the train!