P.'s Reviews > The Coldest Winter Ever

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
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's review
Sep 07, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: yyay, fictive
Read in September, 2010

This is requested all the time at the library and there is rarely a copy that is not missing or billed, so when we got a new one I knew that I had to read it to see how compelling it really was. Winter's story is compelling, and it's not the typical bildungsroman, in that Winter doesn't really learn anything or grow personally except for becoming more cynical. I liked the way that the story subverted my expectations--I didn't like that Souljah seemed to sometimes confuse bad grammar with poetic license, and I'm not talking about black English. I'm talking about using the completely wrong word for a speculum (spectrum?) and switching from past to present tense when describing someone for no discernable reason, etc. etc.

In Souljah's afterword she pretty much states that this book is a vehicle for her views on the problems of modern "ghetto" youth. Before reading it I'd never heard of her, and now I'm having trouble separating the book from her politics, and I'm uncomfortable with that, so I'm just going to leave it right now. (Also, I have to go to a meeting). I'll just say that I've been a little obsessed with reading things about her for the past 2 days, and I take issue with her stating that ideas from Malcolm X, Howard Zinn, and Richard Wright, among others, were "never accessible" to her from the public library (p. 295). I'm pretty sure they would have been.

This book is pretty much made for a book discussion.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by LaS (new) - rated it 5 stars

LaS What is black English? Furthermore, I never grew up among this type "ghetto" culture, so it was indeed painful for me to relate, until I stepped out the box. However, I'm wondering if you are giving this book a low rating because of your own bias.

message 2: by P. (new) - rated it 3 stars

P. James Baldwin on Black English: http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29...

3 stars is a good rating. It meant that I enjoyed reading the book.

message 3: by LaS (last edited Sep 26, 2011 01:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

LaS Thanks for the link, even though it requires a password. I'm familiar with Mr. Baldwin. But there is no such thing as "black" English. There is only English and then there is broken-English. In America regardless of race, the vast majority of "American" people are speaking broken-English.

message 4: by P. (new) - rated it 3 stars

P. You're entitled to your own opinion. My review isn't really about whether or not Black English exists, so I'm going to consider this discussion closed.

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