Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

Published: February 1st 2006 by Pocket Star (first published April 1st 1999)
Goodreads Summary: Ghetto-born, Winter is the young, wealthy daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family. Quick-witted, sexy, and business-minded, she knows and loves the streets like the curves of her own body. But when a cold Winter wind blows her life in a direction she doesn't want to go, her street smarts and seductive skills are put to the test of a lifetime. Unwilling to lose, this ghetto girl will do anything to stay on top.


The Coldest Winter Ever by black activist turned writer Sister Soulja was the first fiction book which taking place an afro-american ghetto I’ve ever read. And I didn’t have to regret my choice. 

The Coldest Winter relates the adventure of a Brooklin drug lord’s daughter Winter Santiago from her childhood until she becomes an adult. Winter is sassy, sexy, smart (but not as much as she thinks), manipulative, promiscuous and self absorbed. 

While most people around her are fatherless and have to contend with a nice cake and some candles for their birthday, for every year she adds to her age, Winter gets stuff like diamond jewellery and designer clothes and her father basically rule the town.  The girl just got it like that.

However, our heroine’s life takes a 180 degree turn when her daddy gets busted by the cops. 

The then 16-year-old goes from spoiled hood princess to a golddigger without a home but with fashionable clothes and her family life is completely shattered: dad is sent to prison, mom start using drugs to cope with her new life and her sisters are taken by force by the foster care system.

You can’t say that Winter doesn’t try hard to bounce back. She does. However her story isn’t a happy one.  

Despite her father’s money, Winter grew up in the guetto: she’s street wise and got a cocky attitude. Besides, she’s always trying to be as business savvy as her father (and eventually has to face the consequences).  

Winter’s fatal flaw is that she grew up in the street without truly being street and she doesn’t know it. Our girl’s main goal throughout the book is to get back at the top by setting up a form or another of illegal business (drug, selling stolen goods..etc), having a legit job NEVER once crosses her mind. The problem is that she doesn’t really know the rules to survive in this kind of game. And she doesn’t realize it. Poor girl.

I loved The Coldest Winter Ever. It was fast-paced, entertaining, quick and easy to read. When I think of this book, I’m reminded me of a perfectly assembled puzzle. Besides, as a black girl, it's always a pleasure to read a book written by a black author (not enough are published and well-known). And the experience is obviously even better if the book is actually good.

Even though, she’s got all sorts of flaws, I was a fan of Winter. She’s very relatable, interesting and her craziness is definitely entertaining. I think the main reasons why I loved her were because she was completely different from me and I enjoyed getting in the mind of someone with an upbringing that differs from mine. 

The other characters were as well-fleshed, and I thought that they all added a little something to the story. 

However, Sister Souljah did something that no author should ever do (in my opinion), she inserted herself in her story. Yep, there’s a book version Sister Souljah. The author wanted to represent herself as caring, friendly, intelligent, considerate (she definitely forgot about modesty though) but in my opinion, she came across as very judgemental of the female gender and sort of nice in a nosy sort of way.

Furthermore, at times, I felt she was trying to spread the message that making yourself pretty and wearing nice clothes were bad things. Besides, you could tell the author was trying to show the world how perfect she is.

Out of all the characters, Sister Souljah was among the least interesting and I dare say that the story would have been better without her.  And to be honest, it’s just plain weird for an author to be in his/her story.

I didn’t mind it, but most of the character’s grammar is atrocious and their language is rather colourful to say the least. It was fine for me because I thought it went well with the tone of the book. However, I know that some people might be bothered by that. 

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