Book Review: Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri
I found this one on some librarian Juv/YA booklist, and I’m glad that I checked it out! I recommend it for all ages. Though intended for kids age 12+, I think it would work well for teens also as well as adults who like YA books).
Ghetto Cowboy is the story of what happens to 12-year-old Cole who gets in trouble one time too many at his mom’s house in Detroit, and is sent to stay with his father (whom he has never met) in Philly to help clean up his act. But as soon as Cole’s mom’s car pulls into town to drop him off, he realizes that his dad doesn’t live in an ordinary place. Nestled in the middle of the inner city are barns, horses, and bona-fide African American cowboys. At first he’s freaked out. But then things start to come together…
The storyline is fairly typical to what an experienced adult reader would expect, but the parts of this novel that were the most interesting to me are as follows:
1) The author has Cole narrate with a natural urban conversational tone (you know, the way real kids talk) without apology
2) Inner-city black cowboy associations are totally a real-live thing. Read about one HERE.
3) Technically a children’s book, Ghetto Cowboy doesn’t pussyfoot around things like institutional racism, gentrification, gangs, etc. The author does a good job of trusting that the reader can handle it all
Find a copy at your library