Tim Haslett's Reviews > Hood Rich: Sex, Staturs, and a Baller's Confession

Hood Rich by Crystal Perkins-Stell
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Feb 20, 08

Recommended for: Tenisha, Crystal, Nimmy
Read in January, 2007

Ms. Perkins-Stell is a star on the rise. This great novel traces the life one woman negotiating life in "the hood, and out there on the grind" (I'm a white guy so it had to be in quotes, y'know?)Her family have been working in the underground economy of Black Detroit (what other Detroit is there, right?!) for many years and her friends and some -exes are incarcerated or still in slinging or involved in the drug trade.

Crystal Perkins-Stell is a terrific prose stylist who refuses to romanticize "the hood" and the black underground economy. She understands them as facts of contemporary American life.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in Detroit, the geographical accuracy of this book is uncanny, but she stresses that Detroit is merely one example of folks who are caught up in some kind of trouble from practically the moment they are born.

From my point of view, the author never makes a pathology out of black people and black life in the city. Yeah, sure there are some single mothers with kids, violent male drug dealers, but they are not sensationalized a la the Fox network or COPS.
They are part of the grinding poverty and truncated opportunity of black people who are unfairly described as the "underclass".

The author shows how big business/corporate domination is mirrored in the hard-working folks in the underground economy. She does not celebrate this way of life, she portrays it in a gritty, realist manner.

Let's hope we hear more from Crystal Perkins-Stell!
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