Mel Kenne - Poet
For me, the bottom line to Donovan Mixon’s novel Ahgottahandleonit is that it’s a damned good read. I was virtually transfixed by the language wrought so adroitly by the author to pump life into his characters and their story.
Mixon brings his seasoned musician’s ear to bear on the vernacular of the American underclass that gave birth to hip-hop in such a way that the whole book can almost be experienced as a symphonic rendering of the daily lives of inhabitants of the poorest neighborhoods in American cities today. Moreover, with its focus on the trials of a young, African-American high school student whose life and the lives of his friends are compromised by the lure of crime and the deceptive fellowship and security offered by thugs and a gangland existence, Ahgottahandleonit's debut couldn’t come at a more fitting time to address the vital social issues of racial and economic equality that continue to dominate discussion in America today.
This novel finds its heroes in those individuals and families who’ve been doomed for the most part to remain unseen, unheard and unsung as they barely eke out a living on the gritty margins of our society. The underlying message of hope it leaves with us can’t be stressed too strongly in these troubled times.