Adam's Reviews > Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Monster by Sanyika Shakur
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's review
Jan 15, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: african-american-lit-and-culture, autobiography, nonfiction, nonfiction-crime
Read in May, 2003

This would have been a much better book if "Monster" Kody Scott had never converted to Islam and then used it as a get-out-of-jail-free card as far as his own redemption goes.

As it is, his recollections of being a Crip and killing lots and lots of people (mostly other Crips from rival sets, but some Bloods, and a few civilians, too) are tempered by constant non-reflection, in which he states that he is now a Muslim and has made a personal and political transformation. He never really elaborates on what that means to him, however.

Scott now calls himself Sanyika Shakur and states that he has moved past the gang mentality that landed him in prison, but there's no sense in this book of what his new mentality is. In his life, he may very well have made personal changes, but there's no sense of that in this book.

If you want to read a real story of an evolving mind and a man who constantly learned and was brave enough to change his worldview based on what he saw and experienced, read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. If you want some cheap thrills about smoking motherfuckers and watching your homeboy ass-fuck a fat boy in prison after breaking his jaw, you can read this. But if that's what you want, you're better off sticking with the novels of Donald Goines. Unlike Shakur, he kept the hollow redemption to a minimum.
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