Saturday, April 10, 2010
Shel: #Readathon Update Five
How is everyone doing out there?
Well, I managed to finish Blokhedz. And it has few if any similarities to the X-Men. But it does have many strengths of its own.
For those of you not in the know, it's the story of Blak who dreams of being a rapper. He hates that a lot of the other people in the projects think he's soft. As the story continues, Blak is faced with a choice of seeking revenge, becoming hard, obtaining his dream and realizing the true power of his words, speaking from his heart and helping those he cares about in his community. It's a complex graphic novel that takes a lot of the common traits of a hero's journey and applies them to the very real tensions of growing up in the projects. I liked the supernatural elements. They're subtle enough that the book felt more like realistic fiction or magical realism than outright fantasy.
I have to admit, I initially had a little trouble getting into it. I think my problem was that 1) the experience of of living in the projects was very foreign to me (what can I say, no matter how open I am to hearing about ways of life different from my own, at the end of the day, it can be hard to escape my white, middle class assumptions about the world). Most of my knowledge base for the tensions being explored was provided by one unwise and unplanned viewing of the movie Honey. 2) And that I had some trouble with the slang. (Of course, I didn't discover that there was a slang glossary until after I'd finished reading the graphic novel.)
As the book went on, I did get into it more and more. And I was interested enough by the ending that I wanted to continue on with the second book. Hunting it down may be a little difficult though. The second volume came out in 2008, but Amazon doesn't seem to know how to get ahold of it (Amazon, why have you failed me? I do nothing but give you my money!).
But at the very least, I can wander over to this website and watch some of the episodes that chronicle Blak's story of using "the power of hip-hop to conquer evil."
(A fun concept, right?)
Here's the first video. It sets up the premise for the rest and for the graphic novel.
"You ready to do this, son?"
"You may not realize it, but your words have power."
"Bwoy yah know dah difference between fate and destiny?...Fate is ah predetermined outcome, but destiny, yah must live ah extraordinary life to fulfill yah destiny."
Any thoughts about this series, peeps?
Well, I'm still not certain I'm in the right mood to dive back into Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
I might hit up Dusssie by Nancy Springer. I'm feeling the middle grade vibe. Plus, this book may have a starring role in my dissertation. But to find out, I'm going to have to read it.