Well? What did y’all think of our latest foray into the literary world?
Meh. I was pretty underwhelmed by the whole book. I think it was well written, but it wasn’t a gripping page-turner and that’s how I like my books.
I think one of the main reasons I took issue with the book is because I didn’t feel strongly – one way or the other – about any of the characters. The mother left, but she wasn’t terrible (well, except for when she slapped Angela) so I couldn’t “hate” her. Teddo was just a strange bird to me. A revolutionary magician?? And Angela. Where to start? Her character confused me. Nothing about her suggested to me that she’d react to her molestation the way she did. Just me? The sub plots with the aunt visiting and them camping out with Muh.ammad A.li were just strange to me. The A.li story did read quite “real.” Now that I’m typing this up, I realize I really didn’t like this book much at all. I thought I was neutral about it, but obviously not…I have noticed that in my reading – and television watching for that matter – I need to root for or against someone/thing. If the element of good v. evil is absent, my interest wanes rather quickly.
One more thing before I let go of this thing – I was surprised that Teddo would allow Angela to be around his friends as much as he did particularly at her age. I think we’ve discussed this in blogland before – there’s no way I’d have my girl child around grown men like that – friend or not. But when I think about it, I don’t know if Smoochy would have those same thoughts and concerns. Maybe they’re more maternal in nature??
Anyhoo, let’s go ahead and open up the discussion. Here are a few of the book club questions at the back of the book that you may – or may not – want to respond to:
1. Angela links Melanie’s abandonment with Assata Shakur’s prison break. How are the two women similar? How are they different? Is there anything revolutionary about either woman’s desire and means of escaping the restraints that hold them back?
2. Melanie talks about the legacy of women in her family. How does her abandonment of Angela and Teddo echo her family’s history?
3. Discuss Angela’s encounters with Edward and Sammy. How is her reaction to each of these men shaped by her relationship with Teddo? By the absence of Melanie?
4. Teddo eventually finds a way to send Angela to an upstate prep school. Is this also a form of abandonment? A way for him to escape? Is it a way to also free Angela?
Alright – you know what to do. Hit it!