Ms Jenkins is just talking on and on ’bout how me and my family need to stay close and keep our faith in God strong while we going through hard times. I nod every couple minutes so she think I’m really listening, but to be honest, I’m really tired of everyone saying that. Like they know what we going through.
He’s living in a shelter, but he doesn’t want to be there long.
I really wanna put my fist through the wall. I can’t calm myself down. I can feel the blood pounding in my brain. I gotta do something. I wanna go somewhere, but I don’t got nowhere to go.
So he comes up with a plan. It could save him. Or it could backfire completely.
It’s too much pressure.
Welcome to Tyrell’s world.
Tyrell was a story I didn't think I'd like, but ended up loving. I didn't know how I was going to take to a narrator who spoke in Ebonics. If that sounds racist, it's because it is. Tyrell would not have worked if a kid who grew up in the projects and had dropped out of school at 15 was speaking proper English. Looking back, I'm ashamed of how worried I was about the language of the book when it is full of rich characterization and moving stories.
Tyrell is a fascinating narrator because you can relate to his problems, and sometimes you just want to strangle him when he makes bad decisions BUT you still want to see him succeed. Tyrell spends a lot of time worrying about becoming someone he doesn't want to be, and as the story goes on it becomes more and more apparent that his true nature could save him from those things, yet heartbreaking circumstances like poverty and hunger make a person desperate.
The characters in this book were not at all cookie cutter. I loved Tyrell's girlfriend Novisha and his friend Jasmine. Both are very complex girls with unhappy pasts who are trying to do what is best for themselves and the people they care about in two very different and often destructive ways.
There are some plot lines that remain very loose ends by the conclusion, but I heard Coe is writing a sequel! A sequel will be great because I can't say I was happy with Tyrell's reactions to certain events at the end of the story. But I wouldn't change those events or Tyrell's reaction if I could. You can read more about Coe Booth and her work at her website.