by M.K. Asante
In the early 90’s I managed a couple of Black bookstores and one of our most popular titles was Afrocentriciy by Molefi Asante. This book was the foundation of a cultural movement at the time that sought to strengthen the ties between African-Americans and their African heritage. But while Professor Asante was on the lecture and media circuit, the foundation of his home life was crumbling.
M.K. Asante (Malo) has written an incredible memoir of his adolescence in Philadelphia. With his older stepbrother in prison, his mother struggling with a mental illness and a father always away, Malo is forced to navigate his own path through a life of gangs, violence and drugs. What sets this apart from other “coming-of-age” urban stories is Malo’s intelligence, and his need to connect with the family that has abandoned him in a sense. Discovering his mother’s diary, instead of feeling invasive, helps him learn about the woman she was and has become, while the published excerpts give the reader insight into a mother’s fear of losing her sons to the streets.
Malo’s story of transformation through his discovery of his love of the written word is one of the most beautiful I’ve read all year.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary e-book of this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.