Cannonball Read V: Book #35/52
**I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. It is expected to be released on September 3, 2013.**
I don't read a lot of humor books, but I'm a fan of Mac Lethal's Tumblr blog, Texts From Bennett. The blog is a series of texts between Mac and his younger cousin, Bennett. Bennett is a wanna-be gangster (he thinks he's in the Crips gang) from Kansas City. Mac is actually a legit hip-hop artist (which I had no idea about until I read the book), but doesn't play into the rapper stereotype, much to Bennett's chagrin.
I always wondered how Mac and Bennett's relationship was formed. They seem so different, including a fairly big age gap between the two (Bennet is a teenager and Mac is 30 in the book). That's where this book excelled. I went into it expecting a bunch of short stories and jokes at Bennett's expense and actually found a great story about two very different people becoming great friends.
Bennett and Mac are cousins (their moms are sisters), but they didn't see each other much until Mac invited Bennett and his mom to temporarily live with him when they got kicked out of their house. Mac's Aunt Lillian is a super nice woman who unfortunately self-medicates with a prescription pill addiction and brings along her deadbeat boyfriend who she admits she only keeps around because he has a van.
The story flows along well and Mac is a very good writer. It's not choppy like I'd expect a book based on text messages would be. I also liked that he didn't use Bennett and his friends as merely punchlines of a joke. Of course he describes the ridiculous, stereotypical way these kids dress (Bennett's sometimes-girlfriend Mercedes wears "gold hoops that are the size of a baby's head"), but you fall in love with these people. And I loved how the story shifts halfway through and has BENNETT actually helping out Mac with how to meet women (Bennett has a list).
Texts From Bennett is funny, but has a lot of heart as well. It's much more than just funny texts and a must-read for fans of the blog.