Thursday, August 8, 2013

Texts from Bennett, by Mac Lethal

Mac is a rapper, and despite the fact that he is white, he does not aspire to be the "next Eminem".  In fact, Mac stays far away from the gangsta, thug image.  That is, until is thug wanna be cousin Bennett (along with his mom and stepdad) moves in with Mac.  Bennett spends most of his time trying to hook up with girls, keeping from losing his job, and getting high, all while claiming to be a member of the Crips.  Bennett often communicates with Mac via unintentionally hilarious text messages, where topics range from Bennett's money making schemes in the neighborhood to his stuffed animal, Hustla tha Rabbit.

I was a fan of the "Texts from Bennett" tumblr account shortly after it started.  I never really cared if the whole thing was true or not, all I knew was it was totally irreverent and completely hilarious.  And I feel the same exact way about this book.  The book is marketed as a novel, which indicates it is fictional; in the past Mac has purported the texts and his cousin are real, just under a pseudonym.  Either fact or fiction, it makes no difference; this book will make you laugh.

I was more than a little impressed with how well this book was written.  When you hear someone is a rapper, you do not often expect eloquence, but with Mac Lethal, you get it.  And the story is quick to point out that even though Bennett is not as eloquent as Mac, he is every bit as intelligent.  Mac does a wonderful job developing Bennett as a character, and the story has an unbelievable amount of heart.

Make no mistake, the language and subject matter is rough.  A lot of the male characters in the book are gang members, use drugs, and talk about women as if they were objects.  But it does paint a picture of a certain subculture.  The book does not take itself to seriously, but it is in no way a mere lampoon.  By the end of the book, you see a lot of good in characters who are the kind of people who are typically overlooked.

I received a review copy courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

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