Monday, July 12, 2010

The Lie by O.H. Bennett

Awww, what a refreshing book. Or maybe I have a special place for it since it was written in a neighborhood in Indiana. Whatever this is a excellent book. This right here is what I have been talking about when I put in one of my posts that just because street urban is becoming popular and making some money doesn’t mean that is what you as a writer need to write about especially if you know nothing about living in the hood. Don’t even attempt to do it because all you are going to look like is some white person trying to be down with black people and act like they are down for the struggle but then go home to their multi-million dollar home, attend their private school, and drive around in some foreign car that they cannot even spell without looking at the logo on the car. We go through a hell of a lot more than just messing in the drug game or falling in love with the infamous kingpin, only to have him turn the girl into a prostitute or a stripper. A talented writer can turn something simple like digging up their noses and turn it into a literary work of art with the street edge to it.
Get into Sister Souljah’s ‘Coldest Winter Ever’ and ‘Midnight’. Midnight is a perfect example because she took a family from a different country and put them into the ghetto. She wrote with street like precision about how the son had stepped up as the man of the house and gained respect from the streets. She did not put the typical hood clich├ęs into the storyline, she just wrote. Her talent spoke for itself and made the book a success.

O.H. Bennett did this. The Lie was set back in the day where racism was evident through the school systems and they still had ‘Do not serve colored’ here signs. Terry Matheus is the younger brother of Lawrence Matheus. The story starts with Lawrence being shot right on the front porch of their home. Police are called, the whole neighbor comes out (you know how we do, we always have to go outside and see what is going on like it’s some tv show) the parents come home. Then the story. Terry tells this story of how some white boys from out of town stops to ask Lawrence directions to the city county building, upon driving off they came back around and called him a nigger and shoot him right there on his porch. Believable story.

What unravels after the incident is pure genius. This small hard working family is suddenly thrown into a living nightmare and how they respond to the shooting is so realistic. I know I keep addressing characters but if you don’t have great distinguishable characters you minds well give it up, you will not have a memorable book. Terry is eventually brought to the mastermind of his brother being shot after going on a rampage with his crazed uncle who he used to look up to and breaking into some redneck’s home and stealing his stash of weed and beating the crap out of him.

Lawrence’s little girlfriend Tamera Groves has her own secrets as well brewing in her stomach in the shape of a baby that she is aborts for fear of her abusive live in boyfriend from finding out and finishing her off. Everyone has secrets, some can kill a person, some can shift a whole future and some can cause a lifelong heaviness. It’s how one reacts to the secrets that decides the outcome. It’s all about forgiveness in the end.

I can see why this author is destined for great things and many books under his belt. Hopefully one day someone will write that about me.