21 May 2012

A Stacie Brisker Review: Swing Lowe, Sweet Chariote (2010)

Stella D Hall (Author)

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Blacpanther publication (March 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615352138
ISBN-13: 978-0615352138
Price: $13.95 USD
Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote is a chariot ride thru the city streets of Cleveland from the New Jack era of 1988 to the mid 1990’s. The readers of this book should find the character of Charoite Lowe to be a complicated mix of good girl gone bad. This “good girl gone bad” identity is a common theme in street lit, but somehow in the hands of a talented writer like Stella Hall, Charioted Lowe’s characterization is deeply textured and keeps the reader engaged to learn just what went wrong in this protagonist’s life.
Chariote is a straight laced, straight “A” student with a bright future ahead of her. Raised by her grandmother, Chariote is more than aware of the “game”. Her mother, Harriett, was a former prostitute and her late father was her mother’s pimp. Gram became a praying grandmother who tried to instill the value of a good education in Chariote and keep her on the right track. For Chariote, it was school, clothes, hanging out with her two girlfriends, Lilly and Shannon, and most of all, avoiding the neighborhood bad boy, Ace.
The drug game was weed and the money was good, but the game was about to change.  Maybe it was the death of her one of her girlfriends, her background, or the lure of the street, that changed Chariote. Whatever the cause, she’s ready for it. Like a fresh succulent peach swinging on the tree, Ace smells the nectar and he picks Chariote.  He pulls out what must have been festering inside of Chariote for a long time; the lust for power. Soon, Chariote is running the show, pulling the trigger and singing to her victims “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” She handles her business her way and soon she garners more respect than Ace.
Not only is Hall’s novel a look at a young woman’s transformation, but it mirrors the decline of the inner city. “Swing Lowe” poignantly portrays the inner city’s transition from a weed based economy to a crack one during the New Jack era. -- Reviewed by Stacie Brisker, Librarian, Cleveland (OH) Public Library System, May 9, 2012.
Note: This novel is readily available for purchase via Amazon.com.

1 comment:

  1. Now a major motion picture!