buck-mk asante-a memoir

“‘Get me out of here,’ he says, like we have the key somewhere, like we ain’t lost in the system too.” (81)

“‘You don’t need to be great to get started, but you need to get started to be great.’” (203)

“I learn to always keep it moving, never stay anywhere too long. They say if you drop a frog in boiling water, it’ll jump out. But if you drop it in room-temp water and slowly heat it up, the frog sits there and dies. I’m trying to be the frog that gets the jump on the boil.” (179)

“I’m spending money and, at the same time, learning all types of interesting things about money. I don’t even call it ‘paper’ anymore like everyone else does because money isn’t actually paper-it’s cotton, the same cotton my dad picked, his dad, and his dad before that. One of my customers works at the Mint in Old City, he showed me how they make money. I broke him off an eight of Purple Haze and showed him how I make money.” (163)

“The cops are suspect for not having any suspects. They never have any suspects when we die.” (152)

it was hard to pull quotes from this one, because the quotes of note are largely attributed to others. the genius of this is in form. like the documentary-style play that i saw about taxi drivers in toronto, this book is written like a remix. this may be an idea that i have to flesh out a little more, but it’s the form blending that makes this book so fresh-literally and literally. the quotes on quotes on quotes from bob marley to zig ziglar and the writing in of reverend jeremiah wright into the character’s family history-the easter eggs are much more delicately and expertly hidden than nelson george did in 2011.

it’s like in push, where the writing changes as precious gets more and more literate-the ratio of quoting others to himself also changes for our protagonist. i loved this one a lot and know that i will still be thinking about it for some time, but i am appreciative of it, and cherish it as revisionist history-in a good way, not in the jay-z way of imagining himself as basquiat or tweeting that the raptors were extinct when we easily topped them in the conference by 14 games, in november.

but, hey. someone’s gotta wear a puffy vest and no shirt.


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