Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Just now, I gave up on Nikki Turner's Forever a Hustler's Wife.

In my quest to read lots of genres I don't usually read, street lit (urban lit, ghetto lit, hip-hop fiction, or even "African American authors" - call it what you will) got a turn. I tried to be patient with language that some might describe as "holding the race down": it's a true reflection of how many people talk, I told myself. At dinner last night, Coworker (30ish, interracial woman who describes the Big City neighborhood where she grew up as "a real ghetto") and I agreed the simple sentences and vocabulary made Turner (and similar books) easy reading. It's not too hard to keep reading. Coworker had a lot to say about how unrealistic a different Turner thug life type book was: in reality, people get locked up for good, etc.

Like many, many other modern books, Turner drops brand names to show us how savvy she and her characters are. The description of the titular hustler's study read like a 12-year-old boy's list of all the things he wants to own when he grows up. I couldn't decided if Turner described it that way to show us this man had made it, or to show us he's perpetually trapped in adolesence. Still, I kept reading.

But when Turner specifically describes the couple as living in a Hanover County gated community, then has city police come bust up their party, I decided to call it quits.

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