Monday, May 04, 2015

Disgruntled by Asali Solomon

Not since I read Tyrell by Coe Booth have I read a literate novel that I could hand to intelligent teen readers with diverse backgrounds.  Kenya's father wants the family to celebrate Kwanzaa, not Christmas.  Kenya's mother is college educated and hopes Kenya will be as well.  But, father is a bit of a hot head and gets in legal trouble, does time, abandons mom in favor of a different woman, charming Cindalou, leaves mom struggling til she meets Teddy Jaffrey and settles in with him.  Kenya's father cannot  support Cindalou and their child so they move in with an artist/rich lady and let her support them.  He has a few kids along the way, does not let Kenya know til all of a sudden he wants her to live with the group.  Since Teddy Jaffrey has proven to be a bad choice for Kenya's mom she joins the group, finds them unacceptable, discovers Teddy has run off with her college fund and pretty much everything else her mom has.  That leaves Kenya and mom without home, college promise, without much of anything except each other.  For a while, Kenya connected with an old classmate who proves to be into drug trafficking and she lands in jail briefly.  Anyway pretty much everything goes somewhat wrong for Kenya on the way to adulthood and she takes it all in stride with humor, grace and intelligence.  kenya is not of a culture that has ever had it easy and so it is that she does not either, despite moments such as attending private girl's school for a couple years where she is honor roll and only minority and getting accepted in a prestigious college.  Kenya is a good kid, she is going to be ok, at least I think so.

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