July 13, 2009

Monday Book Review: The Rose That Grew From Concrete

BOOK #: 57
REASON READ: I love Tupac's music and I remember when he died, how crazy it was for us in high school to have a young celebrity die. Especially when 4 months earlier, we'd had a young black male from our school killed in much the same way.
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
GENRE: Poetry
RATING: 4 Stars

This book is a collection of poetry that was found after Tupac's death in 1996. He wrote them between 1989 and 1991, putting him at nineteen years old. That is important when you read the poems whose topics include love, death (including his own), miscarriage, divorce, pride, God, and even tribute poems to Marilyn Monroe and Van Gogh. Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, along with a couple of Tupac's confidants, gathered these poems together, adding nothing and subtracting nothing, even putting copies of each poem in Tupac's own handwriting in the book, to give Tupac's soul and voice another outlet to the world.

I want to share a few of the poems from the book that touched my heart and mind.

If I Fail
In my quest 2 achieve my goals
I stumble or crumble and lose my soul
Those that knew me would easily co-sign
There was never a life as hard as mine
No father--no money--no chance and no guide
I only follow my voice inside
If it guides me wrong and I do not win
I'll learn from mistakes and try to achieve again
In the Event of My Demise
In the event of my demise
when my heart can beat no more
I hope I die for a Principle
of a Belief that I had lived 4
I will die before my Time
Because I feel the shadow's Depth
So much I wanted 2 accomplish
Before I reached my Death
I have come 2 grips with the possibility
and wiped the last tear from my eyes
I Loved All who were Positive
In the event of my Demise!
I leave you now with the title poem, in Tupac's own handwriting:

Other Books Written By Celebrities That I Recommend:

A Night Without Armor by Jewel Kilcher (also poetry)
The Funny Thing Is...by Ellen DeGeneres (comic essays) (my review)
Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis (children's book)
Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore (children's book)
Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fischer (memoir)

Have you reviewed The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur? If so, leave a comment and I will link to you in my post.


  1. I think these poems are incredible. i just wish that the poetry wouldn't have been overshadowed by the way he died.

  2. I agree, Staci. He was very talented with words. It is easy to forget the good things about someone when they are killed or die suddenly. Thanks for the comment. :)

  3. I have been wanting to pick this up for such along time. I loved the poetry that was in his music and even as a teenager he was writing some good stuff.

  4. Nicole- Yes, and these were written when he was 19. I can't imagine having so much insight at 19. I definitely recommend it to you, Nicole.

  5. Wow. That's good stuff. I admit that I'm not too familiar with Tupac or his music.

  6. I think his poetry shows talent but he hadn't honed his craft yet. I've had to replace this title twice in our library. ((sigh)). And I will add another one as soon as a donor donates one or I can get it on trade.:-)

    I love that the language is accessible and most importantly that his work resonates with our girls.

    Jacqueline Woodson wrote, After Tupac & D Foster, a beautiful YA book that speaks to why the icon spoke to a generation.

  7. Lit Feline- I really like his song Changes. It might be a good song to start with.

    Color Online- I can imagine that this book is hard to keep on the shelves of many libraries. I also like that the language is accessible. Thanks for the recommendation of Woodson's book.


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