Friday, January 22, 2010
During the holidays, I was sitting with my girls talking about books. We were on the topic of African American books and authors and I told them how I have yet to read a Zane book.
-"Fo real? You haven't read any books by Zane?"
-"No" I replied. "I don't like the way some African American authors talk about their characters. It's always about sex. For example when I go to the African American section of Borders, I see Black women pinned up against a wall, in all the book covers. Don't these authors realize they're supporting the Jezebel stereotypes and further exploiting black women as sex objects?"
-"Yea I know what you mean but there are some really good books out there even with those types of characters. Check out 'Coldest Winter Ever', you could learn something from it..."
So I did.
I went into Borders, looked for Sister Souljah and bought "Coldest Winter Ever".
The minute I opened that book up, I was captured into Souljah's grip and into Winter Santiaga's life. Although I can't relate to her, something about it was so magical. I myself am Black, but I was never familiar with the happenings of the ghetto.
Girls hiding razor blade inside their mouths?
I know about the ghettos of Haiti and other islands, but not America's. I was duped yet enlightened. Excellent book. It had me questioning my own position and class. It had me asking myself how would a girl like Winter describe me and why? It had me wondering why material things were far more important than education to her? Everything was about control. What I love most about this book is that it took no shortcuts and did not switch it around into a perfect Hollywood ending.
It was raw.
It showed you the rawness of reality.
I caught myself judging Winter and her decisions, forgetting about motives and the environment she grew up in; yet, wishing I were in her shoes living the glamorous life and getting all the attention.
I caught myself dreaming about having a father like Ricky Santiaga, showering me with material things and calling me the prettiest girl in the world, without wondering why in the beginning I idolized this man and automatically crippled this good father image once he got caught.
It's funny how money change a situation...
I caught myself wonder if Mrs. Santiaga was right about womanhood and that beautiful women are suppose to be taken care of and that being her definition of a bad bitch meant you was a real woman. I completely forgot that she gave birth at 14 years old and never developed as a woman. I also didn't pay attention that she didn't have a name in the novel. She had no identity. She was just Mrs. Santiaga, Ricky Santiaga's property...
When Winter met the character Sister Souljah, immediately I wanted to be like Sister Souljah. I wished that I had a mentor like Sister Souljah in my teens and early 20s. She didn't have the looks like Winter, but her mind and words were so powerful and still managed to attract guys like Robert Langdon to clues, even when her legs were "super glued".
Midnight was also a fantasy of mine. Not because of this good looks but because of his humility. He defied my definition of a man by showing me what real manhood is about. I'm used to insecure men who are concerned about cars, sex, and money. Not men like Midnight who values family, loyalty, and have morals.
I was late on this book. I should have read this book years ago. It really changed my perspective on woman and manhood, and it takes a damn good book to change my world. "The Coldest Winter Ever" is not just a book, it's a damn good book. It caused me to miss my bus stop numerous times, ending up in towns that I never heard of, hopping on the wrong train, etc.
This book can help African Americans take a good look in the mirror. I recommend it to anyone who appreciates learning about different messages from another world...