So, I was perusing through James’ Retirement Savvy blog a couple of weeks ago, and found out that he had just published a book called Cream City Hustle . How cool is that? Now, I’m not generally a fan of, or do I ever, read fiction. I’m just a non-fiction girl: we must always be learning, learning, learning children. But when James wrote that his fiction book was a personal finance fiction book, how could anyone who loves personal finance not be intrigued by that? For the first time in many, many years, I put a fiction book on my list of “to buys” and went about life. Very shortly thereafter, James sent me a copy of the book and asked for my thoughts. Woohoo! This would mean that I have to force myself to sit down, have some time to myself, and immerse myself in a good fiction read. Oh, darn.
The story is set in a drug-riddled section of Milwaukee. Having grown up in the heart of the world of drugs, gangs and prostitution in inner city St. Paul, (yes, I was very much a fish out of water. I never had much targeted trouble there simply because I think most people were so shocked by the appearance of a skinny white girl dressed in leggings and a poofy Madonna-type skirt, complete with 80’s big hair in their rough and tumble neighborhood. ) I know well the life of drugs and drug dealers, so I was eager to see if James’ story had a truthful ring to it.
It does. Two of my requirements for liking fiction reads is that they are suspenseful, and truthful. Cream City Hustle is definitely both. Without giving too much away, I’ll tell you that it follows the story of a young black man who grew up in a drug and gang-infested area of Milwaukee. Marcus, despite his troubled neighborhood, has a strong family with parents that are loving, supportive, and always work to make sure he understands the importance of living a good and purposeful life. He has a solid relationship with his younger brother, and Marcus also has dreams: Dreams of college, a career and a successful life.
But Marcus doesn’t want to go to college and graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. He’s learned from watching those around him that a life enslaved to debt is no way to live. Marcus also knows that his dreams of paying for college in cash aren’t going to be fulfilled by working at his job at McDonald’s forever. So Marcus, being a dedicated worker and a resourceful guy, turns to dealing drugs to raise the money he needs, telling himself that dealing is simply a means to a better end. As he works his meager job and sells his drugs for extra money, Marcus also works to educate himself on the ways of personal finance so that when he gets the cash, he’ll know what to do with it.
I fell in love with Marcus right away. James did a great job of writing in a way that draws readers in and makes them be able to identify with and connect with Marcus. I found myself rooting for him right off the bat.
But anyone who knows anything about life as a dealer knows that it’s not as simple as “make enough money so I can go to college and then get out of this racket”. Marcus’ plan to do that meets with dangerous circumstances, and Marcus has tough lessons to learn along the way.
Friends, if you are a fiction lover, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend Cream City Hustle . It’s suspenseful, educational and riveting all at the same time. Buy it today for yourself, or purchase Cream City Hustle as a gift for a friend or loved one who loves a good fiction read. It’s well worth the time and the money.
And as for you, James, well done, my friend. Well done.
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