A coming-of-age story about navigating the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family, Buck shares the story of a generation through one original and riveting voice. MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: his mother a dancer, his father a revered professor. But as a teenager, MK was alone on the streets of North Philadelphia, swept up in a world of drugs, sex, and violence. MK’s memoir is an unforgettable tale of how one precocious, confused kid educated himself through gangs, rap, mystic cults, ghetto philosophy, and, eventually, books. It is an inspiring tribute to the power of literature to heal and redeem us.
Praise for Buck
“A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.”—Maya Angelou
“In America, we have a tradition of black writers whose autobiographies and memoirs come to define an era. . . . Buck may be this generation’s story.”—NPR
“The voice of a new generation. . . . You will love nearly everything about Buck.”—Essence
“A virtuoso performance . . . [an] extraordinary page-turner of a memoir . . . written in a breathless, driving hip-hop prose style that gives it a tough, contemporary edge.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Frequently brilliant and always engaging . . . It takes great skill to render the wide variety of characters, male and female, young and old, that populate a memoir like Buck. Asante [is] at his best when he sets out into the city of Philadelphia itself. In fact, that city is the true star of this book. Philly’s skateboarders, its street-corner philosophers and its tattoo artists are all brought vividly to life here. . . . Asante’s memoir will find an eager readership, especially among young people searching in books for the kind of understanding and meaning that eludes them in their real-life relationships. . . . A powerful and captivating book.”—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
“Remarkable . . . Asante’s prose is a fluid blend of vernacular swagger and tender poeticism. . . . [He] soaks up James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman like thirsty ground in a heavy rain. Buck grew from that, and it’s a bumper crop.”—Salon
“Buck is so honest it floats—even while it’s so down-to-earth that the reader feels like an ant peering up from the concrete. It’s a powerful book. . . . Asante is a hip-hop raconteur, a storyteller in the Homeric tradition, an American, a rhymer, a big-thinker singing a song of himself. You’ll want to listen.”—The Buffalo News
In his memoir, Asante, a Zimbabwe native and a Philly transplant, plays out the events of his childhood against the backdrop of the street-savvy rhythms of hip hop. In this soul-searching memoir, Asante describes himself as a "true African-American," born in the motherland, and he recalls his family life in "Killadelphia" with his Afrocentric "Pops" and slightly off-kilter "Moms," who winds up in a psychiatric facility, as well as his older brother Uzi, who goes to prison for the statutory rape of a white girl. Asante blends the old soul riffs of Amiri Baraka and Ishmael Reed with the helter-skelter stream-of-consciousness of New Journalism scribes Hunter Thompson, Terry Southern, and Tom Wolfe, tossing in a dash of Sister Soulja and Donald Goines, in his journey through the crime-ridden city streets. It's the snippets of scenes almost overheard chatter and colorful descriptions that make this memoir memorable, as in his description of the funeral of Amir, the riff on the all-important "dead presidents" or money on the block, and his time at Crefeld alternative school. Asante's noir chronicle is imaginative, powerful, and electric, written with passion and conviction.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book was a fun and different style of writing. I caught myself laughing at times and learning from the book. Highly recommend reading.
A must read!!!
I can't think of anything bad to say about this book. I loved it. Great read!
Worth a Buck
The word Buck embodies so many things so many meanings as does the man behind the buck. He's a strong man a resilient man he's every man.