In nine stories and 13 poems, Sharon G. Flake brings the experience of African-American males to gritty unflinching life. There is Tow-Kaye marrying his pregnant girlfriend at only 16 and wondering if his life is over, Tyler explaining what it means to be a player and have game, La’Ron revealing in a letter to his uncle what it’s like to find out you have HIV, and several more that are funny, sad, hopeful, and raw.
Sharon G. Flake is an excellent writer that seems truly keyed into urban life. Her writing never feels faked or forced and her characters seem so real that you could imagine meeting them on any street. She more often writes female lead characters than male, so this book is a welcome change for male readers that like African American Lit. My favorite stories in this bunch were Getting’ Even about a young man’s decision about if he will try and find and kill his grandpa’s murderer and Girl’s Make you Weak, about how to be a player. I think I may even take notes. If you are a fan of realistic fiction about African American books this is a very good read.