- Series: The Midnight Series (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books; 1st Atria Books Hardcover Ed edition (November 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416545182
- ISBN-13: 978-1416545187
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (714 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Midnight: A Gangster Love Story (The Midnight Series) Hardcover – November 4, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Souljah's follow-up to her bestselling novel, TheColdest Winter Ever, is another gritty coming-of-age tale, picking up the story of Midnight (a character in Coldest Winter) as he tries desperately to navigate American culture, Brooklyn streets and the dicey business of growing up. The novel begins as seven-year-old Midnight and his pregnant mother, Umma, are forced to leave their privileged life in Sudan for a hardscrabble American existence. Midnight spends his formative years in Brooklyn guiding and translating for his loyal, loving and talented mother, helping her get a factory job while encouraging her to start a clothing line. Eventually, Midnight starts working at a Chinatown fish shop, finds love, joins a dangerous hustler's basketball league and tries to disentangle his ambivalent feelings toward romance, family and personal honor. Souljah's sensitive treatment of her protagonist is honest and affecting, with some realistic moments of crisis. Unfortunately, a slack plot and slow pacing cause serious bloat, and Souljah's distinctive prose is woefully unpolished. Frustrations aside, Souljah has obvious talent and sincere motives, making her a street-lit sophomore worth watching. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sister Souljah is best known for her work as a political activist and educator of underclass urban youth. A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a beloved personality in her own community. She lives in New York with her husband and son.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
His mother and sister wear traditional hijab and sometimes niqab when in public. They pray to Allah 5 times a day and actively practices the laws of the Quran. Including a man taking up to 4 wives. In this book, 14-year-old Midnight has secured his first wife, a 16 year- old Japanese girl named Akemi until her father unexpectedly takes her bak to Japan.
Can we talk? Let me ask you a few questions about plot consistency. Since you speak so harshly about females, I've got to hold you to a high standard. "Seven continents, seven geniuses"... there's an art's program in Antarctica? I didn't know that.
Akemi!! -- I know she's Asian, but how did her hair grow back so fast? Or, did you forget the part where you said she sliced it off????
Did you really need to title a chapter Bus Stop. That's just wrong. I'm all for sex education and marriage but you were brutal :(
Bangs was one of my favorite characters, even though she behaved childishly, she broke through Midnight's wall, so I like that.
I do like the book, mostly because the voice is authentic. Midnight's masculinity, and vibe was very real.
I'm waiting to read the third book. I can't wait.
God (meaning Jesus--you also seem to have a problem with Christians) Bless.
We meet the protagonist, Midnight, when he is seven years old. This is the same Midnight that we were introduced to in "The Coldest Winter Ever," before he met Ricky Santiago. He has just been forced to leave Sudan with his pregnant mother because his father was forced off his land for political reasons. It is not really clear if his father is dead, imprisoned, or missing, but it is clear he is no longer able to provide for the family and they cannot stay in the country. This is a huge and dramatic change for the family because Midnight's father is wealthy and an adviser to many important men in the Sudanese government and power elite. So, Midnight learns very early in life to share as little information as possible with people and to not let his guard down for very long.
Midnight and his mother, Sana, who the family calls, Umma, which means "nation of believers" in Arabic, move to the U.S. and are placed in a Brooklyn housing project by a realtor. Seven year-old Midnight learns very quickly that everything about him, from the clothes he wears to when he prays, is conspicuous. He is forced to fight and become acculturated so that he can pass through the neighborhood and get basic respect. But, there are things about American culture that he cannot reconcile with his Sudanese upbringing. His father taught him how to use weapons and why to use weapons. So, he makes it his first priority to train himself in self-defense by learning Ninjitsu from a local dojo with a Japanese Sensei.
We fast forward through time until he reaches the age of fourteen. His mother recreates the values and environment that they carried from the Sudan in their little apartment, a safe haven. Sana is an excellent and highly creative seamstress that goes into business for herself. Midnight, with undying devotion, helps translate for her because she refuses to learn English. He also performs her business dealings, protects his mother and sister, keeps up with his schoolwork, works a job, plays basketball with his friends, and practices his martial arts. Additionally, he takes it upon himself to get them out of the projects by helping to save up enough money to buy a house outright instead of getting caught up in the American mortgage system.
The rest of the story focuses on what his values are and how they are different from Black Americans. It also focuses on his absolute devotion to his mother and his sister, Naja, who was born in America and has no memory of Sudan. He develops a love interest in an incredibly gifted Japanese artist in America on a one year college scholarship named Akemi who also can't speak English. This is the crux of the story. This young man is African, becoming an American, young, and Muslim. His love interest is Japanese and 16 years old. They fall in love with each other, but her family doesn't like black people. So, she has to cut herself off from her life and follow his "lead."
Will Akemi's family accept Midnight? Will they get married, although they are barely in their teens? Will Midnight's mother accept Akemi as a daughter-in-law? How far will Midnight go to protect the women in his life? These are questions that will be answered and you will meet a very interesting cast of supporting characters along the way.
Firstly, I'd like to say that Sister Souljah's storytelling abilities are really outstanding. Her attention to detail, usage of different kinds of imagery, symbolism, and characterization gives the reader a rare sensory experience. I enjoyed that aspect of the book. Also, the central themes of integrity, love, respect for self and others, a sense of community, work ethic, expanding your knowledge base, and gaining and maintaining independence are themes that all Americans should embrace, but especially young black Americans can benefit from. However, I have a few issues with the book.
The most objective way to tell a story about black Americans is from an outsider's perspective. So, I understand that there was a literary reason for making Midnight a boy from a different culture that was marginalized among a marginalized people. I also infer that Sister Souljah has a low opinion of Eurocentric American values and feels that those values have corrupted black American youth. Additionally, I get the impression that she feels that Christianity, as a whole, not a devotion to God through Christ necessarily, but the institution, is racist and promotes black American dependence on a white Savior. I get it. But, I think there is a dangerous tendency in all of her books so far, but especially this one, to idealize the Muslim faith and black African people and demonize everything that is American.
Also, the homophobia is still very present in this book, which I think is completely unnecessary and narrow-minded. Additionally, the idea of women as possessions and submissive beings is promoted. Lastly, the idea that women would be much happier and feel more "balanced" if they just stayed in their place and let the man lead her is completely ridiculous, in my opinion.
However, those ideas of how a woman should behave are not unique to the Muslim faith. But, she writes the story as though it is. She consistently berates black Americans and seems to find very few redeeming qualities in any black American. Even the characters who had fathers, or father figures, in the home were painted as the heads of "corporations" who look at their children as "investments." Or, they were men who were completely emasculated, or perverts. The straw that really broke the camel's back was blaming a victim of molestation for being sexual after she was molested.
Sister Souljah also seems to weave through the story, not as artfully as the other themes, the idea of African people's beauty being objectified, uncelebrated, and a source of voyeuristic pleasure for Westerners.
I realize there's an epidemic in the black community of fatherless children and men being incarcerated. Anyone who wants to present a constructive solution I am very willing to listen to. But, I think it is wholly unproductive to paint any one group of people with broad strokes, positively or negatively.
But, this is the thing I love about Sister Souljah's books. They always cause a debate. I would debate that America is one of the few places a Sudanese women who can't speak English, but has unique skills can come to and become wealthy. She would probably debate that wealth is not everyone's goal and shouldn't be the focus of anyone's life. Her argument is that money should never be your God.
I give it three stars for the storytelling and imagery. It was very fun learning about different African and Asian cultures. Midnight is a very interesting character, and a little scary and extreme at times. :-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Now 40 this year, I am reading them again from beginning to end.Read more