"Midnight: A Gangster Love Story"
Published on Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 7:50pm
After being encouraged to read Midnight: A Gangster Love Story by Sister Souljah for a book club discussion at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library, I was left feeling empowered and challenged to continue to strive to be a man of character, honor, integrity, and complete love and adoration for family. Midnight, along with Ned Stark and Jon Snow of George R.R. Martin's Series A Song of Fire and Ice, is one of my favorite literary characters, because of the strength, sensitivity, discipline and focus he displayed as the young lieutenant to the notorious drug lord Santiago in The Coldest Winter Ever.
Midnight's story was personal to me, as I mentor young men in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., area between the ages of 10 and 14, who struggle with making the right decisions on a daily basis. In many instances, young people make the wrong choices because of a false image in their minds of what it truly means to be a gangster, which you can see by their detrimental actions.
Sister Souljah shifts the focus away from Midnight's involvement with drugs and gives the reader a chance to see how this responsible young man was able to legally provide for himself and his Sudanese family in New York City before meeting Santiago. While his peers were trying to date the many young girls throughout Brooklyn and the surrounding Burroughs of New York City, Midnight was only concerned with protecting his family, providing for his loved ones, and finding a special woman to build a lasting, meaningful relationship. Sister Souljah paints a clear picture of how a man loves a woman with strength, not with a weak and pacifying love, but a love that is true and enduring. This is Sister Souljah's image of a true gangster, one who sacrifices his life for the well-being of his family and the building of his community.
Some readers in the book club felt Midnight was not a realistic character and that Sister Souljah did not capture their attention or interest, in comparison to the raw and gritty street tale of the fiesty street diva Winter in The Coldest Winter Ever. Many people either know someone or have personally experienced Winter's story first-hand, which makes connecting to Winter more believable and acceptable. In retrospect, our life is shaped by our experiences and circumstances, which form our thought patterns. However, Sister Souljah challenges readers to be holistic individuals, by giving them a perspective of inner city life from a Sudanese teen male, who became a fierce leader, all because he lived a life without fear in the face of adversity.
This is a great book for any teen who is struggling with making the right choices, as well as parents raising adolescents. Not to mention, with Valentine's Day season approaching, this book is the perfect read for singles and couples. Please come by the Anacostia Neighborhood Library to secure a copy of this excellent novel for your reading pleasure.