- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1st Edition edition (Aug. 20 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812993411
- ISBN-13: 978-0812993417
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.4 x 21.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,384,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Buck: A Memoir Hardcover – Aug 20 2013
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“A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.”—Maya Angelou
“In America, we have a tradition of black writers whose autobiographies and memoirs come to define an era. . . . Buck may be this generation’s story.”—NPR
“The voice of a new generation. . . . You will love nearly everything about Buck.”—Essence
“A virtuoso performance . . . [an] extraordinary page-turner of a memoir . . . written in a breathless, driving hip-hop prose style that gives it a tough, contemporary edge.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Frequently brilliant and always engaging . . . It takes great skill to render the wide variety of characters, male and female, young and old, that populate a memoir like Buck. Asante [is] at his best when he sets out into the city of Philadelphia itself. In fact, that city is the true star of this book. Philly’s skateboarders, its street-corner philosophers and its tattoo artists are all brought vividly to life here. . . . Asante’s memoir will find an eager readership, especially among young people searching in books for the kind of understanding and meaning that eludes them in their real-life relationships. . . . A powerful and captivating book.”—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
“Remarkable . . . Asante’s prose is a fluid blend of vernacular swagger and tender poeticism. . . . [He] soaks up James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman like thirsty ground in a heavy rain. Buck grew from that, and it’s a bumper crop.”—Salon
“Buck is so honest it floats—even while it’s so down-to-earth that the reader feels like an ant peering up from the concrete. It’s a powerful book. . . . Asante is a hip-hop raconteur, a storyteller in the Homeric tradition, an American, a rhymer, a big-thinker singing a song of himself. You’ll want to listen.”—The Buffalo News
“The book’s strength lies in Asante’s vibrant, specific observations, and, at times, the percussive prose that captures them. The author’s fluid, filmic images of black urban life feel unique and disturbing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Asante’s noir chronicle is imaginative, powerful, and electric, written with passion and conviction.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This is an inspiring story about perseverance and finding purpose that is sure to appeal to readers interested in hip-hop, black studies, and American pop culture in general.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Buck takes the daily words of the American streets and forges something low and lovely. Angry, profane, and beautiful, it honors the best of hip-hop’s literary canon by producing a work worthy of inclusion.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Beautiful Struggle
“Buck sings a song that will force all of America to face what it has become and remember what it could be.”—Eddie Huang, author of Fresh off the Boat
About the Author
MK Asante is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There is this joke at the beginning of chapter 2 where M K Asante talks with his father about pornography that had me in tears! I laughed so hard that the man next to me on the bus asked me to read my book to him.
I read the passage and we laughed together.
I truly found myself within the pages of the memoir. His sister and mother along with their battle of mental health, reminded me so much of myself. It frightened me to see myself on the page; but, I continued to read.
His father reminded me of my father, except of course, his father is much, much more famous.
His brother reminded of a lot of my cousins on the east side of Detroit.
His story is my story. His family is my family. He is me?
I have been reading M K Asante since he dropped It's Bigger than Hip Hop. I was probably the first person in Michigan to buy the book. I am his biggest cheerleader.
I highly recommend everything Asante puts out.
My only hope is the Asante has the support that he needs to become the greatest of our generation. I hope that he is able to land the best agent and the best editors for his books, the best producers for his music and the best directors to be mentors as he pursues a career in film.
The only reason why I didn't give the book 5 stars is because it could have used a much, much, much stronger editor. The individual passages could have been tied together into a much stronger narrative. "Characters" that were introduced, like his sister and his father could have come to more definitive close (as opposed to disappearing). The letters from the mother could have been tied into the rest of the book a lot better.
I loved the writing. I loved Asante's life story... The finished product could have been much stronger with a bit of content editing.
No writer can do this thing alone.
I'd definitely recommend this book. Especially to young cats in Detroit. Sometimes, you just need something to relate too. Detroit can definitely relate to M. K. Asante's life story.
I'm glad I read the book. Can't wait till the next one.
I enjoyed hearing his mother's words, woven throughout the story like a silver thread. There are moments of sadness, disappointment, bitterness and grief. There are also moments of joy, triumph and evolving into a beautiful maturity. For every individual who manages to successfully emerge from growing up in a place like "Killadelphia" I have to wonder how many others do not. Too many, far too many. For a lot of people, this is probably a rare glimpse into the life and emotions of a young black man whose life could easily have gone down an entirely different path. I was left wondering how things turned out for some of Malo's family members; his brother, his sister and his father. Perhaps there will be a follow up?
I became amused at times when I found myself looking up unfamiliar terms, some of which (perhaps) should have been obvious, such as Kiwi polish sticks on p. 7; it didn't sink in that he was talking about shoe polish until I found it on Google. :)
There are many quotes in this book. At the very beginning he cites Ovid: "Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." He has bits of song lyrics throughout the book as well. From p. 4: "I do this - spit lyrics to songs under my breath - all day, every day. The bars just jump out of me no matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's like hip-hop Tourette's."
One thing I have in common with the author is the love of reading and finding a whole new world in the discovery of books. For MK Asante it was a small leap from a passion for music, lyrics and reading to a successful, multi-faceted career. That and a group of special teachers at Crefeld school, who were able to inspire creativity in their pupils, instead of frustration and anger. Especially Stacey, who taught English lessons. She encouraged the students to write. P. 202: "I grip the pen and something shoots down my spine, sits me straight up. The pen feels heavy, like it's made of stone..... I stare deep into the blank page and see myself. I feel something I've never felt before: purpose. I don't know what my exact purpose is yet, but I know it has something to do with this pen and blank page. I am a blank page."
From a mother who battled mental illness to a father who is not present at key points in this young man's life, a brother who lands in prison, friends involved in a cycle of dead end activity, friends of his brother, who is no longer present in his life....p. 25: "I walk up to the corner of 10th and Godfrey - we call it 10 Gs - where all of Uzi's [Malo's brother] boys chill. They stand where they always stand, between the liquor store and the corner store, next to the Fern Rock Apartments fence, under the train tracks, and across the street from Rock Steady, this bugged ngh who sits on a crate all day with a broken radio, rocking his head back and forth to a beat no one else can hear." By p. 169 they're still on that same corner; p. 208, still on the same corner. And so it goes for many of the young men who grew up in like circumstances, but this young man emerges triumphantly. ".....someday this pain will be useful to you."
I love the way this story comes together in the end, but you will have to read it to find out for yourself! And I love the Afterword, which is titled Much Love. Here is one line from it (p. 252): "To the voiceless whose voice I evoke through pen strokes." Read this book and find true inspiration!