Title: Thug Notes: A Street Smart Guide to Classic Literature
Author: Sparky Sweets, PH. D.
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Source: Goodreads First Reads Program
Sparky Sweets, PhD, and Wisecrack proudly present this outrageously funny, ultra-sharp guide to literature based on the hit online series, Thug Notes. Inside, you'll find hilarious plot breakdowns and masterful analyses of sixteen of literature's most beloved classics, including: Things Fall Apart, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Pride and Prejudice, and more!
The series Thug Notes has been featured on BET, PBS, and NPR and has been used in hundreds of classrooms around the world. Whether you’re a student, teacher, or straight-up literary gangster like Dr. Sweets, Thug Notes has got you covered. You'll certainly never look at literature the same way again.
As an English teacher, I've always thought about ways to reach students, especially those who struggle with understanding the content of pieces of classic literature. Yes, they can go on Spark Notes, but let's be honest, the content is dry and makes even looking up something even more boring to some students. Then Thug Notes showed up on my doorstep, and I started thinking about how this book, and its notes on some of the many pieces of assigned literature, could help struggling students in an entertaining way.
As soon as I opened Thug Notes by Sparky Sweets, I was a little shocked, but I was definitely in a good way. The book is written in a way that teaches and entertains students or maybe just someone curious about classics. What I really liked about the writing style was that it's written kind of like a rap, but it's also written in a way that most everyone will be able to understand. (Seriously... if I, an English teacher, obsessed with proper grammar, can understand it, everyone can.) It's full of words that you'd normally hear on the streets, and it's just written in a way that will reach a different group of students.
So... let's get down to the good stuff... As a teacher, I really liked how the book was set up. I probably wouldn't keep a copy in my classroom just because it's really explicit, and I don't think school boards or parents would approve of it being in a school environment. However, I can really see this helping students understand a book. Each section of notes is broken down into different sections, all of which students will be tested on:
- So What's the Deal? - A synopsis of the book or play
- Homies - Notes on the main and supporting characters
- What Went Down? - A detailed summary of events
- Themes 'n' Shit - The themes in the book or play
- Images 'n' Symbols - Images and symbols that appear in the piece of literature
- Say What? - Important quotes from the book or play. Sweets provides the original quote and then a remixed version of it for readers (This is mostly just in the notes on Shakespeare)
- Shout Outs - References to similar books or books with similar themes