Number one, I think what I write is literature. People have the tendency to call it urban fiction because whenever black people come into a professional space and do very well, instead of people competing with us upright, they create a new label for it. So that you can be at the top of your game over there in that corner, but this is literature. – Sister Souljah
My Quickie Summary: Porsche Santiaga is the spoiled middle daughter of a hustler. Readers witness as she moves through the stages of being a juvenile delinquent, crackhead care provider, hustler, healer, dancer, and emotional wreck.
Their Summary: At last, mega-bestselling author Sister Souljah delivers the stunning sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever. Fierce, raw, and filled with adventure and emotional intensity, A Deeper Love Inside is an unforgettable coming-of-age story in the words of Porsche Santiaga, Winter’s younger sister. Sharp-tongued, quick-witted Porsche worships her sister Winter. Cut from the same cloth as her father, Ricky Santiaga, Porsche is also a natural-born hustler. Passionate and loyal to the extreme, she refuses to accept her new life in group homes, foster care, and juvenile detention after her family is torn apart. Porsche—unique, young, and beautiful—cries as much as she fights and uses whatever she has to reclaim her status. Unselfish, she pushes to get back everything that ever belonged to her wealthy, loving family. In A Deeper Love Inside, readers will encounter their favorite characters from The Coldest Winter Ever, including Winter and Midnight. Sister Souljah’s soulful writing will again move your heart and open your eyes to a shocking reality.
Thoughts on the Book: After reading a decent portion of the book, I went online to research “Deeper Love Inside ghostwriter.” After reading The Coldest Winter Ever (TCWE) in high school and then again in college, I just couldn’t believe that the person who produced that and the Midnight books (ok, I only read one), would throw together something like this. Outside of specific genre based fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc.), when you read fiction you don’t usually want to feel like, this would never happen or this is a bit much to swallow–even in fiction. I understand that some readers were disappointed in that although this novel is touted as a sequel, that it really isn’t. I didn’t necessarily care about that, until I neared the novel’s conclusion. By the close of TCWE, I believed that Winter had an awakening. She didn’t want her sisters to have the same experiences that she had. In A Deeper Love Inside (ADLI), when Porsche visits her sister in prison, Winter is disappointingly her same old ignorant self.
There are a few major issues I had with this book. I will be cautious to make my thoughts spoiler free. One, the writing just wasn’t that great. There was one scene in particular where the character recalls her father’s arrest and she describes what he wore and how his hair was styled. In a way, this is consistent with how lost this girl is, but really? Two, the pacing of the novel didn’t flow. We speed through periods in Porsche’s life to discover things that just didn’t add up. Three, one thing I liked about Souljah’s other books is that she tends to get heavy-handed with offering her readers several uplifting messages about culture, marriage, societal issues, etc. (or at least she makes you think). Such just wasn’t in this book. Even in the “Special Collector’s Edition Reader’s Guide” found in the back of a more recent publication of TCWE, Sister Souljah makes it obvious that a great deal of thought and planning went into her writing. This just isn’t the case for ADLI.
Now, I don’t read urban/street-lit, but this novel really read like one. I am really disappointed with Sister Souljah’s latest work, and although I was able to read it to the end (shaking my head the whole while), what it really made me feel like doing is re-reading TCWE again to see whether her writing (and style) has changed as drastically as I imagine. The excerpts below comes from the funeral scenes of both novels. I know these are small portions, but you tell me whether there’s a difference in characterization and writing style.
Coldest Winter Ever Excerpt: Just as the priest started going through the motions, a big, black 600 series Mercedes Benz with black-tinted windows pulled up on the pavement. It had been moving at a high speed so it stopped with an abrupt jerk, alarming the guards who had already assumed the shooting position. They called out for the person to identify himself. But the music coming from the vehicle was so loud, I was sure that people inside could not hear anything else. As the door opened, a model type of girl, straight out of the pages of a high-fashion magazine, stepped out of the car. Dressed in a white Dolce and Gabbana leather stilettos. She was obviously paid out of the ass. I still couldn’t see her face behind the sunglasses. Stepping carefully on the new, soft spring grass, she came right over to me.
“What’s up, Winter?” She smiled wide and pulled off her sunglasses. It was Porsche, my sister. She came alone, pushing a whip it would take the U.S. president’s salary to pay for. She hugged me. She kissed Daddy. She waved at Midnight, Lexy, Mercedes, and the two women with him. She stepped up and looked in my other’s coffin for all of three seconds.
She stepped back, grabbed my arm, and leaned inward to talk privately with me. The guard signaled for her to back up. “Damn!” she screamed on the guard. “Can’t I talk to my own sister without you being all up my ass!” So they let her talk. I couldn’t believe how she chumped them.
“I wanted to come and check you, girl,” she said, chomping on some bubble gum. “But you was just too far away. Tell me what you need. Whatever it is, I can get it for you.”
“Whose fucking whip is that?” I asked, amazed.
“Buster’s,” she responded.
I raised my eyebrows, like Who dat?
Deeper Love Inside Excerpt: Standing beside Winter cause of everybody living she cared the least about me, I didn’t have to say too many lines to her. I delivered each one without a sprinkle of love or affection in it. The same way she would’ve if it was the other way around. Winter was defeated. It was all in her eyes. Poppa was still sweating Winter, as normal. Poppa cried over Momma.
“Too late!” I mumbled to myself. Mercedes and Lexus stayed stuck on Midnight and to themselves. The armed guards crowded their cuffed prisoners, Poppa, and Winter.
As the closed coffin was lowered into the ground, I kicked dirt over it with my stilletos. My heart cracked some more. I kicked some more. I was burying Momma and Poppa and Winter, all at the same time.
Sister Souljah on Writing: There is a difference between writers who are impatient and writers who are patient. There is a difference between writers who live in front of a television or inside a movie theater and writers who live by doing, working, participating, talking, and observing. There is a difference between writers who have read and studied the great writings of powerful writers who came before them, and those who have not. There is a difference between writers who have had the discipline to at some point sit still and study the craft of writing and those who have not. I would say to all up-and-coming writers that you need to first be willing to learn, to be observant and patient. You must also live life, build something, do something, develop something. It is the only way to sit down and create an authentic work with vivid descriptions and compelling characters. Capturing the truth of the human soul and experience and weaving it together like a fine tapestry is creating characters, voices, and scenes that will live forever.
Although Sister Souljah’s words on writing are inspiring, maybe she should consider giving them to her ghostwriter or meditating on them herself. She can do better, but then again, how often are people satisfied by sequels? No disrespect, Souljah.
Happy reading, y’all.