Easy Waters’ Streets of Rage is a must read, especially for anyone who enjoys reading a good and well written coming-of-age tale. The majority of the story takes place in 1970’s Brooklyn, in the projects and surrounding area. It’s a gritty, yet realistic portrayal of life in the projects and on the mean streets of Brooklyn during that time. It follows the life of its main character, Cedric Carpenter, who tries to make sense of his life and the world that surrounds him. In trying to come to grips with his own identity as a black man trapped in this urban prison, he is introduced to the Five Percent Nation, which not only teaches him of his superiority over the white man, but that he is in fact god! Waters does an excellent job in his portrayal of the Five Percenters and their teachings, always keeping it factual, although at times he cleverly uses humor to make his point.
Waters tells his story with the right amount of intellect, cultural realism and sensitivity. If you ever read Man-child in the Promise Land, you will develop a great deal of respect for this coming-of-age story and for the unique writing style of Easy Waters. If you truly want to revel in a good story, read Streets of Rage. You will not be disappointed.
Isa Rock is an award-winning essayist. He has more than 20 years experience with the criminal justice system. A born and bred Brooklynite, he now calls home Newport News, VA.