Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

©Balzer + Bray

The genre: YA

The gist: Prequel to The Hate U Give about Maverick, Starr’s dad, as a seventeen year-old.

The review: Just as good as The Hate U Give 👌

This prequel is the origin story of Maverick, Starr’s dad, and it shows everything he went through to become the outstanding husband and father he is in THUG.

Concrete Rose is about a young Black man who faces obstacle after obstacle but keeps pushing, who makes mistakes but bravely owns up to them. He faces the pressures of gang life, poverty, he struggles to keep up at school when he has heavy responsibilities at home. He often feels hopeless and lost, but he never stops trying to be a good person.

Seventeen-year-old Maverick exemplifies what his future wife Lisa says in THUG: No matter what the world throws at you, “the key is to never stop doing right.”

The wrap-up: Everyone should read Angie Thomas’s books.

The rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Roses can bloom in the hardest conditions.

—Angie Thomas Concrete Rose
Audio

This podcast is really good.

Lolita Podcast is super interesting.

It’s about the 1955 novel by Vladimir Nabokov and all the adaptations and pop culture it spawned.

More importantly, it’s about the anti-abuse intention of the novel vs. the patriarchal canon framing it as “a great love story.” It’s about Dolores Haze, the fictional twelve-year-old victim in the novel, vs. the “seductress Lolita” we see in pop culture.

From high fashion campaigns, to countless pop and rock songs, to questionable film and stage adaptations, and so much more, Lolita gets glamorized in Western society without much reference to its horrifying source text. It’s romanticized as a forbidden love story—a sexually mature nymphette and a misunderstood older man against the world.

All this, when the actual novel is about a pedophile grooming, manipulating, kidnapping, and raping an underaged girl.

Hm. Wonder who benefits from making the culture at large view Humbert and Lolita as a love story… Not young girls, that’s for sure.

Hosted by comedian Jamie Loftus, this podcast is extremely well-researched and sensitive to the topic. It’s only 10 episodes, so it’s pretty finish-able.

Listen wherever you listen to podcasts, or check it out at iHeart here.

My trip to the Hemingway House

My trip to the Hemingway House

Last month I visited the Hemingway Home and Museum in gorgeous Key West, Florida.

I started in Miami, drove through the Keys over two days, and spent my last two nights in Key West—the whole trip planned around winding up here. The house and property were amazing, and the journey there wasn’t bad either ☀️🌊

There are myriad cool stories and legends associated with this house, like:

Hemingway wrote some of his best received work while living here, including the 1935 non-fiction Green Hills of Africa, and the 1936 short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

The swimming pool on the property cost $20,000 when built in 1938—an equivalent of $330,000 now—and was the first swimming pool in Key West

The ~50 cats that live on the property! About half have thumbs and extra digits, but they all carry the polydactyl gene even if they have the normal amount of toes. Some are allegedly descended from Hemingway’s own polydactyl cat Snow White (or Snowball, some say) given to him by a ship’s captain. (Apparently thumb-cats were preferred as ship’s cats back in the day because they have better balance than regular cats and are better climbers 👍)

The fountain base that used to be a urinal, taken by Hemingway and friends from a nearby bar.

Hemingway allegedly chose the house because it’s across the street from the lighthouse (the tallest structure on the island) so he could more easily find his way home from the bars. I see a theme here.

Hemingway’s writer’s retreat with the actual typewriter he used.

Cool house, cooler history, highly recommend.

Visit the Hemingway Home & Museum site for more info 🐈