1 out of 4 stars
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Baltimore Dream by Kevin R Gresham Jr follows a group of friends and chronicles their life experiences from childhood through the post-college years. Each of the boys desires to be successful from a young age and begins to take steps early to make it happen. Despite attending different high schools and colleges, the friends maintain their bond throughout the years and meet up on several occasions to support each other, whether in the passing of a family member or birth of a child.
It's a big undertaking to write a book, and I think I can understand some of the issues the author was trying to address with the story. But the follow-through seems to have missed the mark, and the book reads a bit scattered and unkempt. Therefore, I give this book 1 out of 4 stars.
My favorite part about this story is the honest look at the complexity of family relationships and friendship in the long-term. Drama arises in each of the characters' lives and reflects the struggles many people go through each day. The boys show resiliency in the face of many hopeless situations, and it's empowering to see them choosing to rise above and act like men instead of succumbing to retribution.
My least favorite aspect of this story is that it appears not to have been edited. The book runs rampant with grammar, tense, and readability issues. I was also taken aback by the stylistic decision to only stick with a character for about 2-5 sentences before switching gears to someone else. This resulted in many times throughout the story where I had to read back several lines to determine who the author was referencing.
I do think the story has potential as each of the characters has an interesting path to get to where they end up. But it would be nice to take time to go deep on each character and get to know their story in a cohesive way. The constant jumping from one person to the next left me feeling confused.
I struggled most through the beginning section, where the author introduced the main characters' families. We're presented in rapid succession with parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and it left my head spinning, wondering who is who.
Ultimately, I don't know that this book is at a point where I can recommend it. Kudos to the author for putting in the time and energy to write a story, but this needs a bit more love before it's ready for an audience.
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