THE COLDEST WINTER EVER book review by Whitley Watson

“This novel is dedicated to the era in which we live. The era in which love, loyalty, truth, honor and respect died, where humility and appreciation are nonexistent, where families are divided and God reviled, the era, The Coldest Winter Ever.”

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah is about a young superficial teenage female by the name of Winter Santiaga living a luxurious life under the notorious drug dealer, her father Ricky Santiaga. Not really knowing “what’s done in the dark comes to the light” So eventually he was arrested and Winter had to live the life she always despised, the   real ghetto experience. This book educates it’s readers that a fairy tale only last so long when it’s illegal or done for all the wrong reasons, so be cautious how you treat people because you never know who you’re going to need. “You reep what you sow.” The main characters are Mr. and Mrs. Santiaga, Winter Santiaga, Midnight, Natalie and Sister Souljah. The strengths of this book are the introduction, its realism and finally its inspirational and motivational aspects.

The primary thing I enjoyed most about this book was the introduction. After reading the first paragraph I was hooked. Every sentence was captivating. An example of this was when winter was expressing a crude hate towards Sister Souljah. “I never liked sister Souljah, straight up. She the type of female I would like to cut in the face with my razor.”

Another example of this wonderful introduction was when Sister Souljah (the Author) got right to the point with what she was trying to portray in the book. She created an emotion I could feed off of, It wasn’t to strong on nor was it to calm she laid it in the middle just right. “Brooklyn-born I don’t have no sob stories for you about rats and roaches and pissy-pew hallways. I came busting out of my momma’s big coochie on January 28, 1977, during one of the New York’s worst snowstorms. So my mother named me Winter.”    

Another thing I liked about this book was its realism because millions and millions of people have experience these same exact things that were written in this novel: material wealth, spiritual poverty, violence, fear, pain, loss, incarceration, devastated families and friends etc. An example of violence in the book was when Winter’s friend Samone was pregnant and she was trying to fight Winter because she “tried her” so they started fighting but winter broke loose and Samone fell on the cement and she loss her baby from something irrelevant when all she had to do was walk away. “I’m a bad bitch, Yeah sounds good and all but I’m not down with the idea of running from a fight” Another example of violence and devastated family and friends was when Mrs. Santiaga was shot in the face. Everyone was taken aback at the situation, but in the real world in the real ghetto experience you never no what to expect. “Now I’ve known a lot of cats who been shot before. Shot all over the body, the leg, the chest, the stomach, but every dude I know that been shot in the head, never been the same no more”

Finally the inspiration and motivational speaker Sister Souljah was something that really made me enjoy this book. For example when Sister Souljah was in the room with her mentor group, she was explaining to the women it’s not all about having money it’s about what there going to do with that money that will make a permanent difference in there lives and how far are there willing to go for money to look beautiful. “It depends on what you’re willing to do to look nice. Are you willing to let strangers feel you up at a bar? Are you willing to do a lap dance in a string? Are you willing to suck a dick for a new dress?” Another example of and motivational moments was when Sister Souljah went to talk to the women in the prison who was HIV positive. “So when you look in the mirror don’t see death, see life. Don’t see ugly, see beauty. It may not seem like it, but you are powerful. A change of mind, a change of spirit, a change of action can create a new you. You are needed. We need you to make the rest of your life mean something special. We need you to take good care of yourselves and each other, so those of us who love and need you, can still have you back in our homes, our communities. Yes, there is much to live for.”

Booklist says this book is “REAL AND RAW… IF A RAP SONG COULD BE A NOVEL, IT MIGHT RESEMBLE THE COLDEST WINTER EVER.” I have to agree because the novel was so real and natural that it gave me chills, it was very relatable. If you like books that have an outstanding introduction, realistic and motivational and inspirational this is the book for you. It will appeal to all readers but I recommend this book to people that wants to give up and feel there’s no way out of the real ghetto experience.        


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