Mac Lethal’s Texts From Bennett tumblr page became an internet phenomenon after he started posting conversations he was having with his “gangsta wannaMac Lethal’s Texts From Bennett tumblr page became an internet phenomenon after he started posting conversations he was having with his “gangsta wannabe” cousin Bennett. The tumblr, created some time ago, has provided many laughs for the general public, Mac’s fans and this writer in particular. The funniest part about reading any of the texts Bennett sent to his cousin Mac, is really just the grammar and inflection of tone he speaks in. Bennett himself, in the novel, admits to having African in his bloodlines and is apparently part of the Crips gang. What makes Texts From Bennett the novel different from the tumblr page is that there is a story involved. While the novel does use Bennett and Mac’s exchanged texting as a huge plot device, the story itself stands on its own merit for most of the 300 pages that encompass Mac’s literary debut.
The story starts out with Mac arriving home to wedge his way into a fight between Bennett and his neighbor Mr. Cole. Apparently Bennett had done something, unknown to him, to offend Mr. Cole. Mac’s neighbor accused Bennett of being racist, to which he responds “I’m 13% black, man!”. From there we get a basic background of Bennett’s behavior. Generally speaking he is a pasty white, 17 year old boy who because of lack of parenting and his interactions with lower society culture, thinks he is a gangster (though he most definitely is not at all). The story goes that Bennett and his mom Lily (Mac’s aunt) are losing their house. Apparently because of Lily’s addiction to pain pills and her boyfriend’s refusal to work, because he believes the government is spying on him, they haven’t been able to pay the mortgage and so they’re out of a house. Lily sends an email to Mac out of the blue explaining their situation to him, to which he later decides to take them in under the roof of his newly purchased house. In this house however also lives Mac’s uptight girlfriend Harper. Initially, Harper is against the idea of Mac’s “white trash” relatives coming to live with them. But later she relents and basically gives into the argument.
The more important story within this novel is Mac’s unique telling of the time his cousin and aunt spent living in his home with him. While the stories and antics involving Bennett were usually among the most hilarious parts of the book, the real shine of the novel was seeing the relationship and maturity of Bennett and Mac’s relationship evolve. At the beginning of the book Mac’s relationship with Bennett was arguably rocky, not undue to Bennett’s ridiculous behaviors. However, as the story progressed, we were able to see Bennett mature. Maybe not in his grammar, but still he seemed to grow up and become a better person than he had previously been. Even though he had trouble not speaking like a gangster, it was very apparent that Bennett always had good intentions and a good heart.
Another reason that Texts From Bennett is a really enjoyable book is because Mac weaves in a background story around his crazy cousin’s schemes. During the mid part of the book, it’s revealed to Mac via Bennett (and partial admittance by Harper) that she cheated on him with some vegan, turtleneck wearing dude named Todd from her office. This sparks the second half of the book, and arguably the best part of it. From this point Mac is on a mission to find another girl, something to fix his broken heart and get him out of this slump he is in. While trying to figure out how to beat this sadness, Bennett’s best-friend Leshaun suggests to Mac that he should honestly talk to Bennett about how to pick up girls. A few times earlier in the book Bennett mentions writing 11 commandments on how to “pull” or get girls. Mac first dismisses this as a bad idea, but later relents when he feels like he has no options left. This leads him to a bar, where after rebuffing a pretty, but annoying redhead he meets his future everything named Christina. This seems to be the turning point for Mac: he’s met this girl who likes UGK and misses her mom just as much as Mac misses his.
While the ending itself is extremely enjoyable, the best part about the ending for this writer was Jean-Paul getting his training wheels off his bike. Since he hasn’t been mentioned before I’ll explain quickly: Jean-Paul is the young neighbor of Mac’s who lives across the street. He’s always out riding his bike and usually has a kind word for Mac. The reason this scene really resonates with the ending is because it acts as a symbol to the end of the book, and the current state of Mac’s relationship with Bennett, and possibly Mac’s life as a whole. At the beginning of the book we see Mac cautiously take in his 17 year old cousin. After a few hiccups along the way, and much life coaching from both Mac and Bennett, the two are able to solidify their relationship into something that is both a friendship and something that defines family.
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