I Am the Streets by T.L. Joy
Why I Chose this Book
Occasionally, while browsing or researching on the internet via my phone, I will have to download a pdf document. Every time I would use the default PDF Viewer. This app worked well enough, but I was looking for something better, presumably an app that would allow me to keep my place when reading a document on separate occasions. I discovered Google’s Play Books app on my phone and explored it. Through this app, I found that the Google Play Store offered free ebooks. I noticed the book I Am the Streets by T. L. Joy and I believe it was listed as popular at the time. Based on the title and the cover I was a little skeptical. It seemed like it was a stereotypical “urban” drama, but I thought, “why not try it? It’s free.”
I Am the Streets
Na’Tiva is a successful young woman living in Atlanta who has a past that soon catches up to her. She is an attractive lawyer dating an NFL player. Feeling that her hometown of Akron was devoid of opportunities, Na’Tiva moved after graduating from high school in search for a better future, vowing never to return. In Akron, she left her mother and her sister, Na’Tya. Her sister didn’t follow the same path as her, though she did manage to make a way by stripping, and performing in rap videos and pornographic films. One day, Na’Tiva gets a phone call from her mother asking her to come back home because her sister “got caught up in some mess.” Na’Tiva refuses to oblige her mother’s plea and claims that she will never return to that city.
About a week later, Na’Tiva gets a phone call from her sister telling her that their mother has been killed. Now, Na’Tiva must go back home to bury her mother. When Na’Tiva arrives in Akron to meet her sister Na’Tiva makes it clear that she does not think favorably of her sister and does not want to be there. The two argue frequently and bring up the past. Na’Tya informs her sister that an old flame of Na’Tiva’s heard that she was in town and is looking for her. Na’Tiva and Brandon pick up where things left off. Brandon is now successful who owns multiple expensive properties and cars. Na’Tiva’s been having problems in her relationship with her NFL player boyfriend who she suspects is cheating and who rarely finds time to be with her. This makes it easy for Na’Tiva to fall back into the arms of her old love interest. The two begin seeing each other during Na’Tiva’s stay in town. At the reading of their mother’s will, the sisters learn that the mom left more to Na’Tiva than Na’Tya. Na’Tya feels indignant because she was the one that was still around while Na’Tiva went away.
We come to learn more of Na’Tya’s activities as well. Na’Tya’s main job is stripping which she has been doing for awhile. At the strip club where she works, there is a select group of strippers that are called upon to perform at special events and make a lot more money than the others. Soon, a spot opens up and being the ambitious person that she is, Na’Tya pursues the position. The things one must do as a member of this group go beyond stripping, though. The club owner, Buck, holds “auditions” to see how well potential girls may perform. After a “stellar performance”, Buck is more than enthusiastic about allowing Na’Tya into the group. All is not as it seems for the two sisters though and their lives become increasingly more complex and challenging leading to life-changing events for both of them.
I was a little skeptical of the quality of the book before reading it. I suspected that it might be full of stereotypes and clichés. I quickly found that it definitely had many stereotypical aspects such as a blunt rolling, weed smoking, multicolored hair “ghetto fabulous” stripper. The story contained gunshot victims, drug dealers, an abundance of profanity, slang, and plentiful fellatio references. Despite this, it was still quite entertaining.
It felt like it was written with a movie in mind. Much of the book focuses on interactions and activities, perfect for a movie. It is a quick read that cut the fat and left the meat. I read the first quarter of the book during a lunch break. I would say it is, in fact, more of the first one third of a book rather than an entire book. Consequently, sequels to this book have been published.
Sidenote: I also used the read aloud function in the Google Play Books app for a portion of the book. The voice wasn’t the best that I’ve heard, but I could still follow the story.