Book Review: The Bayou Classic By Marcus Chatman

***I received a free copy in exchange for a review***

The Bayou Classic is a fictional story that describes the lives of a group of inner city kids and their journey from high school, college, and beyond. The story revolves around the girls Areille, Carissma, and Jasmine, three teenagers who are struggling to be good students while simultaneously dealing with the pressures that come along with living in the ghetto. You also have their male counterparts Derek, Bingo, Skeeter, and Stepper. With Bingo being the fearless rebel in the crew, theirs never a dull moment. With Skeeter being the savvy street smart hustler theres never a sure thing, it’s always a gamble. With Stepper being the suave playboy in he crew its always interesting to watch him juggle his many women. Lastly theres Derek, the level headed, hard worker who is struggling to find his way through life without getting into any trouble. Like life, trouble eventually finds its way into the mix and effects the entire group. They eventually find themselves banding together to help each other get through. This story is sure to captivate the reader and draw you into the lives of each individual character. This story is not written from a spectators point of view, but the characters themselves narrate the events that take place, which will effectively connect each reader to the characters in the story. There is also another very interesting twist to this story. This entire story is written in poetry form, meaning the entire story rhymes. So the entire novel is basically a poem. Each page has its own individual character, each page is its very own entity. If you love drama, romance, comedy, action, and suspense, then you’ve definitely pick the perfect story.

18069073I liked this book. The introduction was an overview of the hood as a poem, which was nicely rhymed. I have mad respect for the author. He managed to make the entire story sound like freestyle at a poetry reading. Not only did everything rhyme, but he managed to create colorful personalities and a plot to keep the story going.

The Bayou Classic followed Derek, Bingo, Skeeter, Stepper, Areille, Carissma, and Jasmine through their high school, college, and young adult years. Some graduated. Some ended up in jail. Some were in the drug business. And some manged to create successful businesses for themselves. I love drama, so my favorite sections involved Derek and Areille’s breakup.

Just to give you an idea how the rhythm flowed, here’s my favorite passages from the poem:

1) We could just help them take baby steps, start over as friends, sometimes when you think a story is about to end, it actually begins.

2) I’m already in love with one psycho. I certainly don’t need another.

3) You two have plenty of time to grow, so be careful how you touch, I know I said I like her, but I don’t like her that much!

4) That’s my future baby mama, she keeps me focused and balanced, my girl ain’t mean, she’s just socially challenged.

5) They were looking dead serious, like they was going through a crisis, how these n***** buying cars, and can’t even get a license?

Towards the end, the poem stalled for me–it seemed like everything was happy happy joy joy, especially when they were adults getting married. I wish there could have been some tension or conflict somewhere to balance out all that happiness. Plus, I didn’t like seeing the N-word. It seemed like the male characters used that a lot as a term of endearment. Like I said before, I really love drama, so the beginning really kept my attention when people’s parents were ending up in jail, the heart ache, etc.

If you love poems, I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Very First Award (Lucky 7)

I’m proud to announce that a fellow blogger Kellie Larsen Murphy gave me the Lucky 7 award. This award allows writers to showcase a little piece of their work and pass it along to other aspiring novelists. The novel, short story, poem, or anything else can be complete or a work in progress.

When tapped, the writer does the following:

  • Go to page 77 of your manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Copy next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs into your post
  • Give the award to 7 more writers

Can’t wait to see what everyone shares (sorry if you already won, I didn’t know). Here are the writers I wish to give the Lucky 7 Award to:

Part of the story I’d like to share with you guys is the novel I’m working on to get published. Its a work in progress (needs beta-readers then I can call it a manuscript). I thought I’d name it Though I’m Missing You, but after doing my online poll and asking around, I’ve decided between When You’re Gone and Something’s Amiss. The novel is about two exes reconnecting after their close friend passes away. Here goes nothing:

Excerpt for When You’re Gone or Something’s Amiss

After Poe finished drawing her sailboat in the water on a sunny day, she traced it with a black felt pen. Sketching was Poe’s comfort zone. She was happy to be sharing this moment with the little girl because it reminded Poe of all the times Jenna had complimented her artwork.

“Can–can I have it?”

“Sure.” Poe tore the page out and handed it to her.

She held it like a first prize winner. “Thank you. It’s so pre-pretty.”

“You’re pretty too,” Poe said.

“No, you’re pretty. Ollie says–Ollie says you’re beautiful.”

“Really? What does he say about Kate?”

“Ollie says that Kate is pretty. She’s high maintenance and a drama queen. Ollie says she smells like strawberries. Poe, how can someone–someone smell like strawberries?”

Oliver really said all that to Raven directly? She must have overheard him talking to her parents. Either way, Poe appreciated the heads up. “It can be from their shampoo or body spray. What would you like to smell like?”

“Ummmmm…” Raven patted both index fingers to her lips, letting the picture fall on her lap. She hurriedly picked it back up and whispered to herself,” I can’t think.”

Poe grinned, assuming she treated her fingers as her thinking mechanisms. “Here, I’ll hold it for you.”

“Thank you.” Raven let the paper fall again and put her fingers back on her lips. Poe picked it up. Ouch. She got a paper cut; it felt like a knife slit through her hand.

“Ummmm…I know. I want to smell like–like–like…I want to smell like SAND!” Raven giggled at her own answer. “Why isn’t there sand here?”

“Because you find sand on the beach,” Poe explained between grunted teeth. Where was Oliver to kiss her boo-boo and make it feel better?

“Oh I see. Poe?”

“Yes Raven.” She knew something was in store for her. Hopefully, Poe could handle it.

“Please teach–teach me pronouns.”

Poe sighed and handed Raven her drawing back. Like a teacher, she told her young student everything she could think of on the English101 subject. Raven paid attention to every word. Just then, Poe received a text from her sister asking her to give her a call when not busy.

After one ring, Keisha picked up. “What’s up, sis?”

“You tell me. You’re the one who asked me to call.”

“I’m just checking up on ya. How you holding up?”

“I’m okay…How are you?”

“I’m sure you’re not okay, but I’ll let that answer slide for now.”

Poe rolled her eyes; her sister was the only one who called Poe out on her responses on how she felt. It’s not that Poe didn’t trust people–it was actually quite the opposite. She didn’t want to burden anyone with her troubles. She didn’t want to be the negative nancy of the group, so she’d rather keep her emotions to herself. “I swear I am. I even watched Raven last night, and I’ll keep her for a couple more nights as well.”

Like Leo’s response, Keisha was shocked. Just because Poe didn’t want children didn’t mean she couldn’t be around them. She was tired of people acting like she was heartless. Before she could defend herself, Oliver walked over to them and handed Poe a daisy, her favorite flower. Reasons like this was why she was falling back in love with him.

“Thank you. Oliver’s here now,” Poe said while putting a strand of hair behind her ear. Raven jumped on Oliver’s lap while he sat beside Poe. Their shoulders brushed, and Raven’s legs went over Poe’s lap. Usually Poe didn’t like people invading her personal space, but this time she didn’t mind.

“Seems like he can’t stay away from you.”

“Don’t read into it much. He just wants to make sure I don’t hurt his little cousin.” Poe laughed and looked at Oliver. She could get lost in those eyes any day. “Keisha says hi,” she lied.

Oliver waved. “Hi Keisha.”

“Can you be alone for a minute?” Keisha asked.

“Can you watch Raven for a minute or two, three, four, fifty, sixty?” Poe teased. She felt like a dork acting silly around him, but he made her nervous. It was the only way to make her not break into a sweat. Oliver nodded. She thanked him by kissing him on the cheek.

During her brief walk on the boardwalk, she accidentally bumped into an older guy, who gave her the middle finger. Poe smirked and kept moving. Oliver gave Poe her favorite flower, instead of roses to Kate. Unless he met Kate first? Maybe she shouldn’t try to push him away. Maybe she should give into her feelings like the night before. Instead of feeling guilty, she should try to win his heart again. If she had competition, may the best woman win.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby