Angie Thomas’s ‘Concrete Rose’ Is a Love Song for Young Black Lives
By angie thomas
The legacy we have come to us is connected to the roots, which can be complicated to unravel. We can work a lifetime to separate the threads that shape the people we grow.
Angie Thomas’ latest young adult novel, “Concrete Rose”, takes on this challenge – sorting through the making of a person – with the author’s characteristic mastery. In her best-selling debut, “The Hate You Give”, everyone’s eyes were on a 16-year-old girl, Star Carter, who finds her voice after witnessing a police officer. But Star did not develop the young leader on his own; He was molded by those around him. One of those early figures was his father, Maverick Carter. Now, the Maverick “Concrete Rose” has a front and center.
We meet Mavic, years before the events of “The Hate You Give,” in the vibrant world of Garden Heights. At the age of 17, he finds out that he is the father of a 3-month-old son. The sudden weight of his newfound responsibility forces him to make a choice: to continue with the King Lords, the gang he has come across in the way of his now-imprisoned father; Or the gang faces the cost of leaving and tries to make a life for himself and his family out of selling drugs.
The prequels provide the reader with a unique protection: we already know where the characters end up. It is a welcome relief with “Concrete Rose”, reflecting the high stakes of Maverick’s early life. Unlike Star’s journey, Maverick’s fight is a subtle one. Maverick struggles with navigating his daily life, all wrestling with the demonstrative trap of manhood, and questioning what effect his actions will have on the legacy he hopes to build.
Yet Thomas gives Maverick a place to blossom amidst these struggles thanks largely to the unconditional love that surrounds him. The well-known humor about collective care is woven into the “Concrete Rose” and reflects the entire humanity of black people – and especially black boys. For Maverick, the care comes through the steady and constant support of his mother as well as the guidance of his father’s distant meditation. And while those bonds are a joy for the Witness, Maverick has the most intimate relationship with his neighbor, the formidable Mr. Wyatt, who offers Maverick a job so he can leave the King Lords. In a moving passage that serves as the crux to Maverick’s journey, Mr. Wyatt says: “Son, the biggest lie that has ever been told is that black people don’t feel emotions. It seems that It is easy to not see us as human beings when we think from the heart. The fact of the matter is, we feel things. Hurt, pain, sadness, all of this. We have the right to show them feelings like anyone else met. “
The results of Mr. Wyatt’s mentorship later appear in Maverick, whom we know as an adult, as well as the star we see in “The Hate You Give”, which inherits these values from his father .
In “Concrete Rose” Thomas offers a loving look at the lives and realities of black people, a powerful continuation of his most ongoing efforts as a writer: to affirm the goodness of all kinds of characters Greeting readers with their challenge and compassion at every turn, no matter where they may walk. The journey to Maverick is not easy. It is stricken with trauma and bereavement. But the “concrete rose” moments of happiness and the love within the story make us and Navarik love to ponder how we can find humanity within each other for our past, our gifts and our promises Huh.