Saturday, April 10, 2010

What We Can All Learn About Jacki-O's GROWN & GANGSTA

by Cyrus Webb

"The game wasn't his life...the game was for living the life. A stepping stone that too many cats got stuck on..."--- from GROWN & GANGSTA by Jacki-O
I know what many of you might already be thinking. GROWN & GANGSTA? Not really a title you would normally see yourself discussing over the dinner table, right? Well, there was a time when I would have said the same thing.

As an avid reader---and someone who literally reads books as a part of my livelihood---I have found great satisfaction in being able to take lessons from the books I read and share them with others. Believe it or not, with all that is going on in the world right now, a book like Jacki-O's GROWN & GANGSTA is just what many of us need to give a chance---especially those who have children. Why?

The book introduces us to six friends: Monique, Tatiana, Inch, Malcolm, Quentin and Iz. I have called it an urban version of the show Friends. The characters have all come from nothing and for the most part have made dramatic strides in their lives as adults, but that hasn't taken the streets out of them. If I was to use the movie rating system for the book, I would have to give it a PG-13 rating due to some sexual passages, violence and language. But don't let those things stop you from gving the book a chance, because there is truly a larger picture than might initially meet the eye.

Take the most controversial character of the book, Inch. Short in stature but a giant by reputation, there are a lot of issues that he has to deal with, including how to admit when he is wrong and really wants somethng better than the life he has become known for. After making enemies even among those he thinks are his friends, will his grimey ways come back to haunt him?

Then you have the great Malcolm. He is a chameleon that slips easily between Wall Street and the streets, but it is obvious that he is no fan of the life he has tried to leave behind. Success has come to him many times over, but it is never enough to remove what he feels like are the wrongs of his life, including betraying a friend. Can he have the best of both worlds---or will it all come crashing down?

Tatiana could easily be dismissed as the opportunist of the group. She believes in having what she wants, when she wants it---even at the sake of what might be best for her. Inch is the man she wants, but in his absence, she does what she has to in order to survive. Tatiana looks at her mother as the one thing she doesn't want to be, but when her deceptions come to light, she realizes they have more in common than anyone could have guessed. Will it be too late for her to stand on her own?

Out of the two female friends, Monique's star seems to be shining the brightest among the six. She is on the fast track to success as the A & R Rep for Harlem World Records. She has the dream job, the house, the car and a beautiful son, but the correctional system has her man. With so much at stake, will Monique choose her man or her career in the end?

The only character we meet from the beginning that is in prison would be the love of Monique's life, Iz. He understood the rules of the streets going in, so he took his 15-year bid and vowed to make the most out of it. He longs for those close to him on the outside, but when misunderstandings develop among those he loves the most, will he find that all is lost and he is truly alone?

Lastly, there is Quentin. Like Malcolm, he is living a double life and finding it a delicate balance as he excels as a restaurant owner while still earning his livelihood from the streets. In the process, Quentin is recovering from a dead-end marriage, and his ex-wife has his back against the wall as she threatens to expose his real business. How long will Quentin allow her to use this as leverage?

The lessons in GROWN & GANGSTA go deeper than showing off what you have or what you can do. At the heart of it all is the simple question: What are you willing to do for those you love? Each of the characters have their flaws and can easily be anyone that we know. It doesn't matter where you think you are in life, I think you can find yourself relating to one or more of them---whether you want to or not...

"They had grown up gangsta, but now it was time to be just plain grown..."--- GROWN AND GANGTA

Jacki-O will be signing copies of her must-read novel GROWN & GANGSTA April 15-17, 2010 in events held in Mississippi. Can't make it to the events but want to get a signed copy?

Order yours today! Place your order and let us know how the book should be personalized. The book will be shipped beginning Monday, April 19, 2010 and should arrive in 5 business days. All prices include shipping!

Signed Copy of Grown and Gangsta by Jacki-O

Have questions? Contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Grown & Gangsta

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