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A Memoir

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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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 24, 2013 – 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 Reviews

An insight into MK's upbringing

Thank you MK for allowing us into your life. The book is inspiring. Thank you.

Great Book — Captures the reality of Philly

I grew up in the 70’s. South Philly was my neck of the woods. MK Asante brought me back to a place in time. I think this is a must-read for any young, African-Americn male, especilly one growing up in Philly. It’s a raw, but good coming-of-age story.


Outstanding....! Well done Straight to the point and not to mention real LIFE.

Peace ~

View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Aug 20, 2013
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings