I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir by D. Watkins
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 3, 2016
Genres: Crime, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Personal Memoirs, Self-Help
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Reminiscent of the classic Random Family and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, but told by the man who lived it, THE COOK UP is a riveting look inside the Baltimore drug trade portrayed in The Wire and an incredible story of redemption. The smartest kid on his block in East Baltimore, D. was certain he would escape the life of drugs, decadence, and violence that had surrounded him since birth. But when his brother Devin is shot-only days after D. receives notice that he's been accepted into Georgetown University-the plans for his life are exploded, and he takes up the mantel of his brother's crack empire. D. succeeds in cultivating the family business, but when he meets a woman unlike any he's known before, his priorities are once more put into question. Equally terrifying and hilarious, inspiring and heartbreaking, D.'s story offers a rare glimpse into the mentality of a person who has escaped many hells.
The Cook Up by D. Watkins provided a gripping insight to how a person on the right path ends up following a dark and dangerous pathway instead. D. is a young man striving to escape his neighborhood in East Baltimore with an acceptance to Georgetown University. He has seen the life his older brother has as a drug dealer and wants a different life for himself. Then, the death of his brother starts a series of events that leads to him cooking crack in an abandoned building and having a vast crew of dealers and thugs underneath him. After a few years of drug abuse, drug sales and seeing many unnecessary deaths, D. finds a light in his darkness and begins the long road to transformation.
I was fascinated by the life of D. Watkins. The Cook Up was an intriguing and engaging look into a world of violence, greed and addiction. The timeline did cause me some confusion as it jumped around a bit, but that did not detract from the story telling as a whole. There was a surprising amount of emotion in the book; Watkins was able to transfer his feelings into the words. The world of East Baltimore was wrapped in and through the narrative. It was almost a character they way the locations were so prominent.
The Cook Up is the type of memoir I feel is important as it helped open my eyes to the struggles and triumphs of others. D. Watkins did not have an easy life and he was able to rise up and accomplish a great deal. I particularly liked that he did not shy from his past, but rather embraced the lessons of loss and hardship to create his future.
Favorite lines – It took twenty-three years for me to figure out that money and love are two different things. Until that point, my whole life had been centered around what I had, what I could do for others, or what I could make. My friends and family felt like me—we all share the same bullshit-money-equals-love mentality. We are all equally flawed.
Have you read The Cook Up, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge