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The Coldest Winter Ever Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hip-hop star, political activist and now writer, Sister Souljah exhibits a raw and true voice (though her prose is rough and unsophisticated) in this cautionary tale protesting drugs and violence among young African-Americans in the inner city. Winter Santiaga, the 17-year-old daughter of big-time drug dealer Ricky Santiaga, is spoiled and pampered, intoxicated by the power of her name and her sexuality. Riding high on the trade, Santiaga moves the family out of the Brooklyn projects to a mansion on Long Island where things start to disintegrate. Winter's mother is shot in the face by competing drug dealers, the FBI arrest Santiaga and confiscate the family's possessions. Then, while visiting her father at Rikers Island, Winter discovers her father has a 22-year-old mistress and a baby boy. For the first time, Winter feels anger toward her father and pity for her fallen mother. Being the ruthless hood rat that she is, however, Winter leaves her weakened relatives behind and sets off to regain her stature and reinstate her father. Attracted to power, intolerant of those without it, ill-equipped to deal on her own and predisposed to make all the wrong moves, she deceives and steals from those who help her and yet, somehow, she remains a sympathetic character. Winter's obsession with money, possessions and appearances, her involvement in the drug trade and the parade of men she uses lead her down the wrong path. Sister Souljah herself appears as a "fictional" character who voices her belief that Winter's vices are shared by many, and that greed, drugs and violence devalue the lives of urban youth. Souljah peppers her raunchy and potentially offensive prose with epithets and street lingo, investing her narrative with honesty albeit often at the expense of disciplined writing. But this is a realistic coming-of-age story of debauchery with a grave moral. Agent, Elyse Cheney. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The trials and tribulations of young Winter Santiaga are described in gritty detail in this coming-of-age novel, the first by the phenomenally popular rap star who frequently lectures on the themes of this novel: overcoming teenage pregnancy, fatherless households, and drug use in African American communities. As the oldest daughter of a successful drug dealer, Winter lacks for nothing. But after her father moves the family from the projects to a mansion on Long Island, Winters life begins to come apart. Her beautiful mother is shot, her father is sent to prison, and the familys possessions are seized by the government. Winter and her three sisters, Mercedes, Lexus, and Porsche, become wards of the state. Finally, arrested and convicted of transporting drugs in a boyfriends car, Winter receives a 15-year jail term. Sister Souljah herself appears as a character, urging Winter and other young black women to stand up to the men in their lives, abstain from drugs, and practice safe sex. Although the novels writing is amateurish, the message is sincere.
-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416521690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416521693
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,852 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sister Souljah is a successful political activist and educator of underclass youth. Her national bestseller The Coldest Winter Ever, considered the definitive novel of the hip-hop generation, marked her fiction debut; she is also the author of a memoir entitled No Disrespect. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. Swinney on October 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Coldest Winter Ever," by Sister Souljah is a gritty street fable with a lesson to be told. Sister Souljah deserves a lot of recognition for making a point in the vein of Malcom X and Richard Wright's "Native Son." To break the cycle of negative consequence, it takes some tough choices; choices seemingly unglamorous but in the interest of greater humanity necessary.

To tip my hand, reading this book was a stretch for me. I was recommended this book by a young African-American single Mom colleague as one of the best books she has read. Myself, being a middle-aged boring married Caucasian guy recommended to her "Catch 22." What speaks to you is a reflection of where you come from...your experiences. So, she read Catch 22 and I read "The Coldest Winter Ever." I'm not sure how much she got out of her reading assignment but Souljah's book was a mind-broadening experience.

The tale of Winter Santiago, daughter of a successful gang lord drug dealer, is one of a young adult, street-wise beyond her years moving from having her known world at her fingers to one of survival and destitution is a cautionary tale of the choices we make and the consequences we learn to live with. Winter, though a sympathetic character, makes cold choices that in her mind will lead to things in life she considers, clothes, control, possessions. Sister Souljah has a way of weaving the reader into the tale without being heavy-handed with the message she speaks to.

Usually the aspect of literature that draws me in is the writing, and I believe with this book Souljah was still trying to find her voice as a writer. Some of the language comes off as hackneyed and still yearns to be peppered with originality.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Cydney Rax on February 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah is a thoroughly engrossing, simply riveting book that I am very happy to have read. It is like a tell-all story from an urban teenaged girl's point-of-view. From the drug life to the privileged life, the story takes you on a journey that you will never forget. There's so much that can be said about this book, but I'll start with the main character Winter. This girl is sooo real, so authentic that I wondered "Who is Winter? Where is she?" SHE EXISTS out there somewhere. Sister Souljah did an excellent job characterizing Winter as well as the others (Midnight, Lauren, Santiaga, etc.). The way the story was written you were allowed to know Winter's every thought, whether you agreed with those thoughts or not. Winter was defined by what happened to her and how she reacted to the things that she experienced (mother's accident, father's jailing, being forced to live among strangers, lack of money, love for money...). And the plot had many twists and turns, shockers and laughs. My favorite line is "Bounce, nigga," which is what Winter said to a 'white man'. It was hilarious. Overall, I loved the story, the writing, the character, and some of the messages conveyed in this piece of work. It is highly recommended...a book that has "FILM ME" written all through its pages.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By LW on May 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's been a long time since I've read a book so captivating and one that I've finished in such a short period of time (3 nights). The book was baaad! And I mean good! Great! Excellent! There was never a dull moment. I found myself constantly picking up the book to read at every opportunity that I could. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next to Winter and hoping that eventually things would work out for her and that she would get herself together. But I guess what goes around comes back around. You do dirt, you're dealt dirt. This book definitely should be read by all (especially young girls who believe that life is all about materialistic things and getting what they want quick and easy). It is definitely a page turner and eye-opener. Unfortunately, I feel that a lot of young adults who should probably read this book and benefit from it won't. Sister Souljah, girl, you put your foot in this book. You held nothing back and told it like it is. It was raw but that was Winter. I really expected her life to turn around in a neat, tidy, little way because that's how many fiction books end. But I should have known better, that you would not take any shortcuts. I have to admit though, I wanted Midnight and Winter to get together. However, I am really looking forward to a sequel....soon I hope. Thank you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Yasmin Coleman on August 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are a few books that leave an impression months afteryou've read them and The Coldest Winter Ever is one such book. Not because TCWE was necessarily a literary masterpiece but rather because it was riveting, engrossing and must read for all. Although fictional in nature people like the Winters and the Santiagas of the world do exist. It's the story of the rise and fall of Ricky Santiago's family told from the main characters perspective. TCWE is set in Brooklyn, NY and is narrated by, Winter, so named because she was born on the coldest day ever to Ricky Santiago a drug dealer and his 14 year old wife. As one of Brooklyn's top drug lords Santiago kept his family(immediate and extended) on top and provided the best of everything for them even thought they lived in the projects. When he decided to move the family to Long Island the threads that loosely held this family together quickly began to unravel. After Winter's Dad, Santiago, is arrested and imprisoned in life for selling/trafficking drugs, Winter must face the challenges of making it on the streets of New York with no education or skills; of course she refuses to give up the lifestyle she's become accustomed to and the heinous acts that she commits along the way are unforgiving, stupid/dump, cutthroat and leave little room for compassion. Even thought she ended up being homeless she could still spend $5,000 faster than most people could spend $5.00. Winter's main concern was always about her looks and finding a man with money to take care of her in a lifestyle that she was accustomed to. Winter was raised on money, street smart principles but with no values or morals; heck even education wasn't important as long as one had good looks and money...didn't matter if it was drug money.Read more ›
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