Customer Reviews for

Buck: A Memoir

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted August 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Buck: a Memoir is a riveting book. It tells the story of a young

    Buck: a Memoir is a riveting book. It tells the story of a young immigrant from Zimbabwe (born to American parents) who fights for survival as a teenager in America. His teachers are unconventional to say the least - strippers, rappers, ghetto philosophers, and outright outlaws. It is an amazing journey and well written.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "The fall in Killadelphia. Outside is the color of cornbrea

    "The fall in Killadelphia. Outside is the color of cornbread and blood. Change hangs in the air like the sneaks on the live wires behind my crib."

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Every American teenager goes through a period of rebellion as s/he tries to figure out who s/he is, apart from the parents. But for no other group in America is this transition as dangerous as for young black men. Malo's older brother is in jail. His father is always traveling; his mother, depressed. His schools: some give him a pass and don't require him to do much of anything, long as he keeps playing basketball. Others are more like a holding pen, the teachers flat out telling the students "I'm just here for the paycheck."

    It's amazing that any of them make it out of there alive, and sadly, too many don't. Malo loses his best friend, Amir, and afterward, the funeral director takes him and his friends in the back room.
    "He shows us the coffins and tells us, 'The little ones, for teenagers like y’all, are my best sellers and business is booming! Booming!'"

    The best memoirs let you crawl inside the skin of someone who's not like you, and MAKE you feel it, as if it is your own life. I was not only feeling for and with Malo, I was actually nodding to the raw beauty and poetry of hip-hop lyrics, the way they perfectly fit the narrative of the story.

    I also got a glimpse inside his mother's head, through her journal entries, which Malo reads/shares here. She is battling her depression so hard; like a lot of people, the drugs sometimes help and sometimes turn her into a zombie, but she keep fighting for her younger son until finally, she finds a school that "gets" him. They make him write, and in writing, he finds his own voice.

    "Holding the pen this way, snug and firm in my fist, makes me feel like I can write my future, spell out my destiny in sharp strokes."

    I couldn't help thinking of "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," yet we do waste so many minds, so many bright young men and women of all colors and ethnicities COULD give back so much. If only we tried a little harder, found the key to reaching them, instead of warehousing them in school until they are 18, then warehousing them in jail ever after.

    There are many definitions of the word "buck;" it's a term for a person, for money, for an act of rebellion, or of sex, and in the end, M.K. Asante claims it for his own.

    "Became a doer, dream pursuer, purpose-driven
    Past meets the future
    In between no longer and not yet
    Rise up, young buck, never forget"

    This book is going to stay with me for a long time.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an amazing story of survival in the urban jungle. The wr

    This is an amazing story of survival in the urban jungle. The writing is compelling and really draws the reader in. I loved this book and couldn't put it down. Five stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    Drugs, crime, broken families, and violence is nothing new to th

    Drugs, crime, broken families, and violence is nothing new to this Philly girl but it may be new to some. This is a story of a brilliant writer who almost lost his battle to grow up. Through diary entries written by his mother and chapters told in the voice of his 15 year old self this is a book that holds you captive. Even though I know this book is written by the voice in the story I still found myself holding my breath in places hoping that things would work out.

    This is the story of so many young urban people. Parents either absent or on drugs, schools that are more like prisons, where teachers have given up hope, and the streets become the schools. The murders, the friends who die too young, the helpless feeling and the lure of drugs and money. This story is written in a way that is accessible. That will speak to so many, or at least be familiar. While we are living in a slightly different time the troubles are still relatively the same.

    MK has shared his pain and written a book that could be any inner city kids story, except this one doesn't end in a coffin, it ends with a career, a way out through education.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Wonderful read every page houses a world of adventure. Buck wil

    Wonderful read every page houses a world of adventure. Buck will send its reader thru a roller coaster of emotions. Asante has a gift for making his story relatable to any audience. The tone of the memoir is hip yet sophisticated and all together captivating. I wish it was twice as long so i could keep reading!! 5 stars aren't enough. Thank you Mr. Asante for sharing your story with us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2014

    An extremely moving and honestly real story that shows a young m

    An extremely moving and honestly real story that shows a young man making mistakes and eventually moving from those negative situations. I couldn't put the book down once I opened it. This is definitely good for inner-city kids to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Difficult to read

    You really need to know the "hood speak" in order to fully understand. I had to look up quite a few words, like whip = car. Story line sketchy and hard to follow. No real closure on many of the characters in the book. Last few chapters done in rap. Disappointing read to me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Best book I've read in years! MK Asante is a fantastic writer. H

    Best book I've read in years! MK Asante is a fantastic writer. His story is touching, deeply personal, and exceptionally well told. A must read. The thing about this book is ... it's completely impossible to put down once you start. It held me captive for an entire afternoon until I finish it in one sitting. LOVE love love this book, this story, and how it hits home.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    This book moved me from the start. This is a voice that needs to

    This book moved me from the start. This is a voice that needs to be heard, that we can all learn from, that will change how you move through the world. Let MK Asante bring you into his world, and allow your heart to open to his wisdom and wit.

    The most moving passages are woven right into the narrative - they slap you upside your brain but linger in your heart for days to come. This book represents a beautiful opportunity to hear a strong, wise yet vulnerable teenage boy tell you about the world - you'll be changed for the better by it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    "BUCK," is a very pure and momentous chapter in Ma-lo'

    "BUCK," is a very pure and momentous chapter in Ma-lo's (Dr. MK Asante) life. The language is phrasing that captures your psyche on the first page and makes you want to know everything in the pages that follow. The author takes you to emotional spaces that can be unnerving and awkward, but rightfully so because the words are about his life. As a reader you will connect with Ma-lo and live side by side with him until the last word on the last page of the book. You won't be able to put the book down once you start reading.

    "BUCK," placed me within Ma-lo's soul and introduced me to a culture my younger brother hinted at, but never told me about. Ma-lo learned street etiquette, adhered to street codes, but never transformed outwardly or inwardly into a person the streets demands a young black male to be. He watched the street hustle; studied the human conditions in his life, saw truth, but didn't judge; acknowledged his true emotions; loved unconditionally and released it all in melodic poems set to rap rhythms.

    The flow and words of the story will never lead you to escapism, but raw gritty realism that places you within Ma-lo's rite of passage. The resolution of this well-expressed chapter is what we all search for within ourselves daily, purpose.

    I highly recommend "BUCK," and dare you to emotionally immerse yourself into a world that is as American as apple pie, baseball and hot dogs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    This book hits hard in many ways. 1) In terms of writing chops,

    This book hits hard in many ways.

    1) In terms of writing chops, Asante is unparalleled. But I knew this after reading Bigger Than Hip Hop. Lyrical, rhythmic, and often hilarious. ("He's the shape of a sack of laundry--a stuttering hamper coming right at me," he says of his hapless, obnoxious school principle)

    2) Somehow, Asante manages to give this book a soundtrack. Sprinkling song lyrics from Billie Holiday to Public Enemy throughout the narrative, the effect is something like a movie, as the italicized couplets boil the details of Asante's story down to the succinct universal truths so often found in music.

    3) This is a story of Asante's coming-of-age, coming-of-rage, coming-full-force-to-the-page, but it is equally the story of his mother, who's own jaw-dropping lyrical beauty is featured steadily throughout via her diary entries from years ago. As she suffers through debilitating depression in her living room, she is the figuratively and literally the center around which all of the despair and tragedy of Asante's life takes place. Her journals tie together with Asante's memoir in a way that suggests a conversation between mother and son that--as events unfolded in real time--seems to have never taken place. The fact that it does now is what makes the effect so great.

    I could go on, but...just read it, it's a must.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

      You would do well to call this a ¿fictionalized¿ memoir.  When

     
    You would do well to call this a “fictionalized” memoir.  When did you actually live in North Philadelphia. Where were the sneakers hanging on wires in the back of your house on Medary Ave in East Oak Lane?      List every school you attended and the dates you were kicked out, can you share your school records?




     Your older cousin was born in l974 and you were born in l981, true? If not, correct us with your birth certificates. While you are gathering documentation, how about a record of the institution you claim your sister was in?




    Three hours for throwing eggs out of a car in the 35th District qualifies as a record?  Really?   
     What is the intention behind this fictionalized story?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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