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Snitch: A Novel

1 rating: 5.0
A book

In Jersey City the code of the streets is simple. No matter what, you don't talk to the cops. You don't snitch. But when young bus driver Andre Bolden witnesses a murder on his route, the code gets personal and every decision leads him deeper into worlds … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Revell
1 review about Snitch: A Novel

Beautifully Written, Gritty Urban Drama

  • Aug 15, 2011
Rating:
+5
Jersey City bus driver, Andre Bolden's life could have been much different, but one mistake seven years earlier is still chasing him. With his life slowly unraveling and depression mounting, he's now faced with another difficult decision. Should he risk his job by not telling his employer, he saw a man killed on his route or should he protect his family and his life by following the law of the street--never talk to the police. With pressure mounting to face his traumatic past, Andre reluctantly begins to search for the truth of God's providence. In a beautifully written, urban drama, Snitch weaves together the harshness of the streets with the inspiring hope of God's omnipotence.

Within a few pages of starting this book, I felt like I was in a different world. I normally only feel that way about fantasy novels, but this environment was so different than what I know, I felt completely out of place. I admit I don't understand a place where the police are the bad guys. How can they not be your friend? How can they not be trusted? Is it really safer for your family not to report a murderer than it is to report him? These are ideas and concepts that are as foreign to me as jelly fish stew. Yet I don't feel like Snitch was completely fiction. I believe that Mattison realistically captured life in the inner city, where gangs make the rules, not the government. For someone in the suburbs, that's not only very foreign, but also rather unsettling.

In many ways this book has a raw feel too it. It's set in the winter time, so the frigid temperatures added to a book that already felt cold. However, it's also quite poetical. Andre is a gifted writer and his poetry is beautiful in the midst of the violence, anger, depression, and oppression that dominate the overall mood of the story. Though I doubt this was the author's intent, Andre's writing sets up a nice contrast between the hellish life he's living and the beautiful life that is within his reach.

When it comes to themes, Snitch is loaded with them. Whether it's political, social, cultural, or spiritual, there is plenty of food for thought for the reader. I was pleased with the balanced social approach to this novel. Mattison does a very nice job of providing social, environmental, and personal reasons for Andre's struggles, without making excuses. At the end of the book, I felt like the responsibility for Andre to get his life together was not only possible, but his decision. Additionally, I enjoyed watching the choices and consequences of the founder of the OGC gang, Rock and his nephew, Clops the current leader. The dynamics of the reformed gangster struggling against the anger and temptation of his past while watching Clops slowly descend into a life he made possible was fictionally gripping while sobering in reality. Rock, Andre, and Clops combined to demonstrated three choices and the consequences of those choices.

I'd be negligent if I didn't mention the amazing writing talent of Booker T. Mattison. This book felt like it wrote itself. I only come across 2 maybe 3 books a year that feel as fluid and natural as this one. The characters and environment of this novel were incredibly authentic feeling. I could feel the emotional turmoil of each character and ponder with them each choice they faced. The plot is excellent, but this book is worth reading if for no other reason than to admire the talents of the author.

I enjoyed reading Snitch. It is not only entertaining, but also challenging and intellectually engaging. The characters are excellent and the themes beautifully presented. In a book full of positives, the style is probably the best part--the events are ugly, but the writing gorgeous.

Review title provided courtesy of Revell.

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