I have always loved reading stories about young women who beat the odds of adversity and strife, find their prince charming and live happily ever after. Ok, I know that's a fairytale, but a girl can dream can't she? After reading GHETTO HEAVEN by Erick S. Gray, I found myself comparing the storyline to that of one my favorite fairytales of all time, Cinderella. But, Cinderella in the hood? I know that this may be a stretch of the imagination but think about it. It could happen. This woman who is still a little girl at heart, really loved the fairytales.
Growing up in the hood can be a daily lesson on survival, if you survive. Toni Benjamin is a young woman who seems to have had more than her fair share of life's struggles. Her mother is a drug addict who supports her habit by stealing and/or prostitution. Her older brother is serving a life sentence in prison for killing the man who turned their mother out. With no one to care for her and teach her the ways of the world, at a very young age, Toni begins her education of life on the streets of Coney Island, Brooklyn. Her daily concern is earning enough money to take care of her most basic needs. When she meets very rich and very handsome Matthew Peters, only then does she begin to think about life outside the culture in which she grew up. Matthew, somewhat disconnected from his world and looking to experience more in life, sees Toni as his lifeline. But, having been tucked away in his ivory tower on Long Island, he knows nothing about the ghetto or the life Toni lives. Neither is prepared for the changes that need to happen in order for them to exist together.
As they contemplate a relationship, several people stand in the way. Toni's gangster boyfriend Tec will kill anyone who dares to mess with his turf. Matthew's domineering fiancée and mother will stop at nothing to see that he gets to the altar. They both work in tandem to keep him close to their vest. Will Toni turn him out? Will Toni's coach turn into a pumpkin at midnight with no prince charming? Will her prince charming even be interested once he finds out the truth?
Erick S. Gray has written a very fast-paced, action-filled story about life on Coney Island. Can you say, page-turner? It was very hard to put this book down. I will admit that the language at times was offensive, the killings were brutal, and there were a few grammatical errors to contend with. But the characters and the overall story kept me enthralled. Mr. Gray did an excellent job of managing several plots and a huge cast of characters without missing a beat and leaving just enough to hint at a sequel.
Reviewer: The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers (RAWSISTAZ.com)