Friday, March 7, 2008

Death Before Dishonor--Nikki Grimes

Worst. Book. Ever.

Not that I expected much. I bought it for 3.99 at Barnes and Noble, thinking it might interest my students. After reading the first line, which is too obscene to quote here, I realized that was out of the question. I don't even know why I bothered to read it, except that it was so bad it was kind of captivating. The characters are horribly stereotypical (straight out of a ghetto-rap song), the plot is ridiculous, the author contradicts herself constantly, as if she forgot what she had written about a character a page before. Misogyny and violence abound, of course. The writing is terrible--choppy, and peppered with the occasional sentence fragment. The dialogue is forced. And the similes! Again, most of them are too obscene to quote, but here's a sample of a tamer one: "She looked as big and meaty as the chicken wings." Or how about a metaphor? " one could figure out why she would waste $55 on a cute hairdo when she would still just be a gorilla with a cute hairdo." But the best is a little tidbit of "gangsta mathematics" written in a love note: "(L+T) x Lty2 = DBD", which translated means (of course): "Love plus Trust, multiplied by Loyalty (to the second power) Equals...Death Before Dishonor." I don't get it, myself, but I never took gangsta mathematics in school.

You may have to read this book in order to believe how bad it really is. But you may not be able to stomach it. My advice is to not bother.

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