American Artists American Voices Writers and Writing

Just Like Compton – The Novel

Okay, I’m late in telling you about the book reading for the new urban novel,
Just Like Compton, unless you can race over immediately. (Info below.)

But the book itself looks intriguing and I like what the author, Kevon Gully, is striving for.

Kevon Gully’s background has all the elements that predictably lead a kid to gangs. He grew up in Imperial Courts housing project, which is one of the city’s toughest. There was no dad around, his mom was on drugs. In fact she was in such bad shape, she left her 10-year-old son completely on his own for three months until his grandmother discovered her grandson’s situation, and moved him to Compton. But the grandma didn’t keep him and soon the kid landed in foster care, bouncing from foster home to foster home, spending most of his life on the streets.

Unsurprisingly, Kevon ended up in lock up. First he was sentenced to ten years as a juvenile in California’s Youth Authority for carjacking and kidnapping. In 2003, he again was arrested, this time for fraud and receiving stolen property. A staggeringly long sentence was eventually pleaded down to 8 years because all of his crimes to date had been committed while he was a juvenile.

In the second stint in lock-up, Kevon writes that he was determined to change. He got himself a Liberal Arts Associates Degree while behind bars, and vowed that he wouldn’t be coming back.

He also began writing.

He happened across the genre of novel known as urban fiction, and connected with the form. However, he objected to the books he read on literary grounds. He found the plotting predictable and wanted to try his hand at doing better.

It took Kevon a while to develop a voice, and a method of storytelling. Finally, Just Like Compton was the result.

I’ve not read the book, but I know others who have. They tell me it’s surprisingly good. At the very least, it is a look into what it is like growing up on Compton’s streets.

From 3-5 p.m. Saturday, he’s reading and signing books at Smiley’s Bookstore, 20220 South Avalon Boulevard, in Carson.

However the book is also available in independent book stores and on Amazon.

Take a look.

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