Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: 'Animal' by K'Wan
celebrating Black History Month 2013

4 / 5 Stars

Here at the PorPor Books Blog, we celebrate Black History Month by reading a book, fiction or nonfiction, about the Black Experience.

For Black History Month 2013, the book so selected is the novel 'Animal', by K'Wan (Foye).

'Animal' is a trade paperback released in October 2012 by publisher Cash Money Content / Cash Money Books.

K'Wan Foye has become one of the best-selling authors of 'urban' or 'street' literature, an emerging genre aimed at a black readership, but, like rap music, also eliciting crossover appeal with white readers as well.

'Animal' is the sequel to K'Wan's novel 'Eviction Notice', and in turn, the sixth book in the 'Hood Rat' series, which is set in New York City and features a recurring cast of characters.

Accordingly, the newcomer may be rather bewildered at the various subplots and myriad personalities occupying the narrative. 

Indeed, Animal (the street name of Foye's character Tayshawn) is only sporadically present in most of the narrative. But he does have a set of custom, chrome-plated Glocks; a 14 kt, solid gold necklace upon which dangles a replica of the Muppet character that is his namesake; and a bulletproof vest that he wears underneath his hoodie.

'Animal' is basically a revenge tale. After learning that his girlfriend Gucci has been shot and is hospitalized in intensive care, Animal seeks bloody retribution on Shai Clark, the Harlem drug dealer responsible for the attempt on Gucci's life.

I won't disclose any spoilers, save to say that 'Animal' is a quick and engaging read, despite its large cast and numerous subplots. K'Wan never tips his hand as to whether Animal's scheme for revenge will come to fruition, or leave him and Gucci in even worse straits.

The book is violent; in its first 20 pages, mutilated corpses make an appearance. These are followed by the graphic account of the death of a snitch; it's clear that Animal isn't the only ghetto star who is willing to use excessive force to get his way. As the narrative rolls on, more bodies pile up.....

K'Wan has 'ghetto' idioms and expressions down pat. His dialogue is realistic, and an accurate reflection of the way young, black urbanites speak to one another:

Dena wiped her hands on her apron and retrieved two Coronas from the cooler. She cracked one for herself and handed the other to Frankie. "Vashaun got her stamps so we was just gonna throw a li'l something -something together, but you know how niggaz is when they smell barbecue", she nodded to the dudes at the table. 'Everybody kicked in a little something so we gonna do it how we do it until all the food is gone."

Readers looking for a novel that faithfully depicts the life of a hustler, on Harlem's mean streets, will want to give 'Animal' a try.

1 comment:

thebookhaven said...

Five star rating for Animal at Amazon. Absolutely a WoW! performance for a book with 267 user reviews. I hardly see even Stephen King items getting such a rating with as many or lesser reviews. Not that it means everything but I gotta check this out. Thanks for sharing :)