Monday, April 14, 2014

Book #40: From Pieces to Weight by 50 Cent

Honestly, I don't know what to call the author in this review. Mr Cents? 50?

I feel like he wouldn't be insulted by either because I would be discussing him respectfully.

 I liked this book. Apparently I'm the only (cool) person who hasn't read this book, seen the movie or generally know the author's story. I wish a student had given me this book sooner - I would have read it, suggested it and talked about it.

Not everyone who has a good story to tell is actually a good storyteller. Thankfully, 50 Cent has a knack for telling stories just long and just short enough to pull the reader from page to page, satisfied and thirsty.

Three pages into the book I was hooked by the author's  cadence, his honesty and his brutal denial he had a drug problem when drugs landed him in jail and rehab (repeatedly).

 Actually, I take that back. 50 Cent wasn't a drug addict in the usual sense - he wasn't hooked on crack or dope or anything that would strip him of his pride and possesions.

 He was hooked on the drug of money, on wealth, on the flash of bills and the belief that cash meant status and security in a violent world.

  I'm not judging him for this. I hope I'm not.

Each semester in my classes I have the students do a quick "core value" clarification game and in every class one or two students will announce "wealth" is their core.

 This usually isn't a surprise - it's the guy with the spiffy motorcycle helmet and buttery jacket; it's the guy with that watch that cost more than my first (used) car; it's the lady with the perfect purse nails and manicure who sits in the second row.

None of these guys ever miss class (they pay for classes so why get less than they pay for? brilliant, huh?) so if their pursuit of wealth takes them through the testing field of discipline and respect, more power to them.

The pursuit of wealth brought 50 Cent the courage and drive to find something that would bring him money, and that's how he found his voice. Along the way there's violence, bad uncles, fancy cars, and two guys called Grits and Butter.

If you haven't read this book and you happen across a copy, pick it up.

The central weakness in this book (which isn't very weak at all) is that it is written from the persepective a person still living in an unfolding story.

He ends the story with success, making money, making records, arriving.

If you've already read that book or you loathe reading about rappers I have a book to suggest for you.

Way back in the anciently historic old days of the 1990s when today's students were barely born and I was a grad student teaching at FSU I repeatedly assigned Nathan McCall's "Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America." Every student who read it LOVED it (except one, and she was deeply deeply shocked by it, but this was 1996 and life was full of shocks back then) and at least ten of my students asked how they could write Mr. McCall and thank him for such an awesome book. Good enough?.