Buck

A Memoir
By: MK Asante
Narrated by: MK Asante, Adenrele Ojo
Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: History, Americas
5 out of 5 stars (193 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A rebellious boy's journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family - this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice. 

MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation's dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in Black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone - his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country - and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary. 

Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers - outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It's a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal, and redeem us. 

©2013 MK Asante (P)2013 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style." (Maya Angelou)
" Buck takes the daily words of the American streets and forges something low and lovely. Angry, profane, and beautiful, it honors the best of hip-hop's literary canon by producing a work worthy of inclusion." (Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Beautiful Struggle)
" Buck sings a song that will force all of America to face what it has become and remember what it could be." (Eddie Huang, author of Fresh off the Boat)

What listeners say about Buck

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

God Saves? Where? Not in Killadephia Pistolvania!

This story had ne hooked from the beginning to end. The story is about Malo, the protagonist and his brother Uzi. The analogies used throughout this book were spot on, along with the quotes from famous authors.
Milo, just runs because that's the only thing that saves him from dying. Boy's trying to live in the trails of being black in the world. Uzi turned from a boy into a man, while in prison, his spirit changed, even in his eyes.
Milo challenges himself to read and learn more daily. "People get use to anything, the less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. Like it's a normal state of things, but to become truly free you have to be acutely aware of being a slave". He learns that writing is like speaking another language, it can be explored by anyone who reads it. just as a thermometer or thermostats, one's the temperature while the other reflects it; he wants his writing to be like a thermostat.
Some of the apologies/quotes that stuck out to me were below: Afrocentricity means black people should view the world through their own black eyes. People without knowledge their past is like a tree without roots.
You can be born in Georgia, but that doesn't make you more American than a water in a log. African proverb, no matter how long a log sits in the water, it'll never be a crocodile. Expectation before Assimilation.
I can go on and on about this book. Great read, I reccomend any young man of color to read this. I will be passing this one on to my son. #book18of2019 #bookworm #whatsnext

3 people found this helpful

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riveting

Would you listen to Buck again? Why?

This story was truly relatable to today's chaos. His passion can be heard through his voice. He made listening to the book better than reading it. His animation brought such life to the words that you find yourself visualizing the scenes as he describes them. Can't wait to listen again! !!

What did you like best about this story?

His honesty

What about MK Asante and Adenrele Ojo ’s performance did you like?

They brought words to life

What did you learn from Buck that you would use in your daily life?

Mistakes are correctable

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

I had to read this book for my English class and I'm happy I did. Wonderfully written. I will be letting my teenage son read this book.

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Never knew

An author who reads you his own book. AMAZING. I had a hard time staying tuned but when I did just wow. Most recommended.

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One decision can place you on a different path

What a beautiful story of Courage, love for yourself, love and respect for others, the importance of educating yourself through reading the right type of literature and selecting friendships with the right people, as we'll as his willingness to accept change and trust in God as a parent can shift your child's path forever. MK Asante displayed such strength to withstand the many abrupt life changes, he allowed himself the opportunity to try a different path despite his current circumstances and that makes this young man extraordinary. I know in my heart there are millions of MK Asante's in the world. I hope more of them come across teachers and staff like MK did at his last school. Teachers who want to make a difference in a young persons life should have them read this book as proof that all they have to decide is that they are worth a better life and its in their hands to accept the change. Especially for those who are fortunate enough to have this opportunity afforded to them.

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A rare real depiction

It felt authentic. A real look through the window at a black kid growing up and going through it

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Real.

A raw story... beautifully written and beautifully performed. I had the chance to see MK as a guest speaker last year at the Milford PA readers and writers festival. He was charismatic, present and gracious in his presence. I was inspired to get his book. It did not disappoint.
An important book that shows how one small decision can lead you down an entirely different path... a human struggle and the transcendence of a heart.

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amazing

i loved it first book for school and i was very happy about it. is one of the realest books i have ever read.

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Inspirational yet bucked up

I was inspired by his drive once he discovered his purpose in life. The stereotypes many have of inner-city families was strengthened by the detailed explanations of his circumstances. It's sad that many Black families are still experiencing the residual affects of Jim Crow laws, segregation and prejudice. He made it, but it was pure luck or blessings from God.

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A must read, especially if you a Philly native!

My first review. I was both touched and impressed with the writing skills. Asante did a wonderful job capturing the essence of Philadelphia and the struggle of many youth who are ambivalent about the systemic problems that plague all inner cities. I am buying the book too. So many quotables!