Christine's Reviews > Ghetto Celebrity: Searching for My Father in Me

Ghetto Celebrity by Donnell Alexander
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Mar 26, 07

Read in January, 2006

Occasionally I come across a piece of literature so compelling it elicits an immediate written response despite the frantic schedule that dictates my harried day-to-day.

I wolfed this book down on subway cars and elevator shafts, skimming through its malcontented descriptions of soured employment, and avidly consuming the trail of paragraphs in which the author describes his relationship with the mother of his children.

Donnell Alexander embodies all of my primary fears concerning how men may mistreat women: an issue transcending racial background, but inextricably attached to class and upbringing.

Here is the man my mother intrinsically taught me to shun, a man with a deficiency of respect, an abundance of selfishness, and no familial reference points to reinforce the idea that perhaps...just perhaps he might want to rethink his priorities.

Donnell outlines his all-consuming, pitfall-ridden quest for the grail of a satisfying career with a masterful collection of compellingly crafted passages, which gave me pause every few pages or so to re-read some remarkable turn of phrase. Ghetto Celebrity is a scathing self-portrait of unapologetic egotism couched in disaffected, yet brilliant literary talent.

However. His story reminded me that as a woman, I stand firmly against the romance offered by the Donnell Alexanders of this world. Antics of men who follow similar paths may not take the woman out of the workplace, but they demote her to second class citizen/harem girl/convenient emotional and physical repository in all other aspects. Not every woman is brought up to withstand this kind of mental abuse, but many are brought up to tolerate it, and the callous misogynists who prey on the latter make it increasingly difficult for the man who holds his woman up instead of leaving emotional skid-marks across her chest.

I have no natural enemies more dangerous to my sanity and status as an independent woman than this sort of man, and have crafted defenses of the most underhanded sort to deter their attentions the minute they reveal their intentions. The only thing preventing me from going so far as to seek their annihilation is the fact that they most often are a creation of their society, and therefore not completely to blame for their misguided outlook on life. But (and I pause for effect) THEY COULD CHOOSE ANOTHER PATH. Women, your only consolation prize is simply that, often they end up old and deserted, grasping at their disappointed children in late attempts for undeserved affection.

Better to be alone and secure in the respect and love of friends and family, than to pin hope on a man such as this...a man who chooses not to know better.

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message 1: by Donnell (last edited Mar 09, 2009 06:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Donnell I couldn't sleep for a few nights when I first read this review. Then my fiancee asked why I care about such things.

Sleep soon returned. Still, I cared. If a writer doesn't care about what readers think, s/he isn't really committing to the process. Not in the contemporary sense of the work.

So, let me say this, finally: Ghetto Celebrity was my effort to come to terms with all of the jerky behavior I engaged in as an angry, confused youngster. Publishing a memoir in my early 30s made me a better person, a better writer.

Having said this, my career was fairly devastated by readers who came at the book in an unsophisticated manner. It's not like I didn't *know* I was showcasing the dick-ish parts of my self. Ghetto Celebrity was a mea culpa. Everyone should write one.

In truth, it's not certain to me that I behaved worse than anyone else might have, given my circumstance. (I certainly didn't only write about my selfish ways within my first marriage!) But we can't ever know, can we? No one inhabits another person's flesh.


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