Some responses on Facebook to my previous blog, "Urban fiction boosting the book industry?" What do you think?
Posted by Melodye Micere Van Putten
>Definitely falling off the cliff... In the mainstream bookstores under "Black Authors", that is all you see... you have to search for classic, intellectual or truly notable authors. Aka, "ghetto lit", is not progress!
Posted by Threefifths Tes
>So would you call Books like C l a u d e B r o w n Manchild in the Promised Land.
Or Piri Thomas book Down These Mean Streets.
>Posted by lisa@nowrisebooks No, Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land doesn't glorify thug life. His book is autobiography, non-fiction; thug literature, ghetto lit, refers to fiction--works of the imagination.
In Manchild, Brown describes the gangs and street life he actually experienced, portraying what violent and criminal activities he and his young cohorts engaged in because they were rebellious and/or lacked constructive direction from adults.
Brown dedicates his book to Eleanor Roosevelt because, as I recall, she was instrumental in establishing the reform school he was "sentenced" to as a juvenile delinquent. The perils of gang life, undirected youth, reform, redemption, the need for government and society to provide the resources to help youth live up to their potential, these are the overarching messages in Manchild. Ghetto lit -- the few I have read or read through -- doesn't point the way out of that life; it resigns itself to living within the gang and violent street life, perhaps only escaping in death.
Ironic you mention Manchild because I decided a few days ago to re-read it after about 35 years.