Book Review: Texts From Bennett by Mac Lethal
As the library’s humorous 2014 Adult Winter Reading Program draws to a close, here’s one last comical book to add to your reading list - Texts From Bennett by Mac Lethal.
Published in 2013, Texts From Bennett is the inappropriately funny story of Mac, a white, not quite middle-aged Kansas City rapper, and his teenage cousin, Bennett, who claims to be a “gangsta” - and, oh yeah, thirteen percent black.
First created as a popular Tumblr blog, the “Bennett character” fully blossoms in this hilarious novel, and it all begins when Bennett, his pill-popping mother, Lily, and Lily’s crazy paranoid boyfriend lose their home and move into Mac’s new house.
Mac’s world is turned upside down as Bennett steals the neighbors’ pets for rewards, brings crazy, destructive women home, and annihilates his love life. As Bennett loses jobs, behaves inappropriately, disrespects boundaries, and tries to be the biggest “gangsta” he can be, Mac slowly learns that although Bennett has issues, underneath everything, he is a realistic, genuine person with
a big heart.
Ultimately, Mac begins spending time with Bennett as a mentor and role model. Looking past all the flaws, he forces Bennett to think about some serious adult topics and more importantly, his future.
What’s surprising, however, are the funny, unexpected lessons that Mac learns from Bennett – like how to get women by following the “11 Commandmints of Gittin’ Bitchez.” More importantly, he helps Mac through a major heartbreak and teaches him to accept people for who they are.
Before reading Texts From Bennett, be forewarned that it contains lots of foul language and crude "street talk." It has a raw urban presentation and tons of purposeful spelling errors that might turn some people off. Also, much of the book is presented in texting format — or epistolary style — which might be annoying for certain readers.
Overlooking all that, Texts From Bennett is not a silly throwaway book. In its own unique way, it tackles poverty, family issues, humanity, and more with a head-on frankness. Plus, the novel’s writing style has a certain creative spark that keeps the reader engaged.
In the end, there is just something about this book that grabs your heart unexpectedly. Despite all the imperfections in the characters, you like them and learn from them. Most surprisingly, you find yourself seriously rooting for them to overcome their problems and become productive members of society.
Texts From Bennett was written by Mac Lethal (real name is David Sheldon). Lethal is a Kansas City native, and Texts From Bennett is his first book. He is also the founder of Black Clover records and a local rap artist/performer.
About the Author
Amy Morris is a senior library technical assistant at the Westport Branch. She earned a B.A. in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, from Avila University. Besides reading and writing, Amy enjoys traveling, art, being creative, playing the piano and spending time with her family. She also writes her own blog at livingkansascity.blogspot.com