The Ghetto Blues is an autobiography of your life in the projects of San Antonio and how you overcame numerous obstacles. Why was this an important book for you to write?
My legacy is important to me and I want to share my story to inspire people. I want my children and future grandchildren to know the real me, my life story, and that no matter what life throws at you, you are to never succumb or play the victim role. No excuses.
I wrote the book for my family’s history; the saying that every time an old person dies, a history book dies with them.
I don’t want my history book to die with me.
What I liked most about this book was the honesty in the retelling. You left nothing out, good or bad. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest to write about, is by far, the suicide of my beloved mother. She was not only my mother, but my best friend and someone that I could talk to about anything. My mother always had my back and she loved all of her children, unconditionally.
The Ghetto Blues is dedicated to my mother and father.
When writing a biography it enables you reflect on life choices. Is there anything that you see differently now that you’ve written this book?
There’s a lot that I see differently as I reflect back on my life’s choices, but without the decisions that I made, there would be no Ghetto Blues.
My experiences taught me to remember the past but don’t let it define my present and future. I’ve learned from my choices and there’s no greater teacher in life than mistakes.
I felt like this book was about perseverance in the face of adversity. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope that readers take away the fact that no matter what you go through in life, you are the director, producer, actor, and the entire cast of your life’s decisions. You are in control of your own life.
There are two choices, to give up or to never give up.
I hope that the Ghetto Blues inspire young children and people in general that are born into poverty, suffer mental, or physical abuse to never give up.
I write this book for future generations to learn, grow, and inspire to be a better you. This book is the story of my life and based on true events. It’s about a young lady that struggled through her identity crisis and was raised in unstable environments and poverty.
A story about a life of tragedy, trepidation, but triumph. I never accepted the ideology of a victim. Instead, I embraced strength, resilience, and a warrior’s philosophy. I fit the perfect description of Tupac Shakur’s meaning of the saying, a rose that grew from the concrete. When the odds were stacked against me, I continued to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I believe that you are only a victim when you have no choice; otherwise, you are an enabler. I had no choice being born into poverty, but I had a choice on whether to rise above my circumstances. My desire was to break the mental and physical chains plagued in our communities and instill new ones for me and my children.
My story goes out to all the people that suffered and survived, The Ghetto Blues. I hope to transform and inspire you to never give up on you.
Posted in Interviews
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The Ghetto Blues by Tammy Campbell Brooks unexpectedly won my heart. The book’s full title is The Ghetto Blues – An Autobiography of Tammy Campbell Brooks’ Trepidation, Tragedy, and Triumph, and it follows the life of Tammy from childhood through adulthood. In the opening pages of the prologue, Tammy’s daughter writes, “In this book, you will go through different stages of emotions from tears, laughter, happiness, and joy of growing up in poverty and impoverished environments, but not letting the circumstances define you.” As I began the book, I was skeptical that I would experience all these emotions, but as I concluded the final chapter, “Bells Will Be Ringing,” I found that Tammy’s daughter had been entirely right all along.
Typically, authors are referred to by their last names in reviews, but after reading Tammy’s story, I feel it only right to call her by her first name. Tammy’s story was incredibly challenging for me to read at the beginning because it is so disparate from my own experience in suburban America. Growing up in the projects of San Antonio, Tammy had an upbringing that is almost unbelievable for most readers – gunshots, emotional and physical abuse, poverty, extreme hunger – but she avoids writing about her experiences in such a way as to say, oh woe is me! Completely the opposite, Tammy describes herself as driven and dedicated. Even though she experiences setbacks and succumbs to vices that will have readers wanting to call her up and say, what were you thinking?!, she does not let her weaknesses or mistakes define her, and she is always striving for the best out of herself.
Tammy’s autobiography is written in an almost spoken format, and not at all how Strunk & White might have preferred. While the typos and grammatical errors irritated me at the beginning on the book, I came to realize that if it had been written like Faulkner, for example, it would not have truly been Tammy’s autobiography. Her story is edgy and uncomfortable, and sometimes painful to read. It is the opposite of polished, but it is honest and eye-opening. That said, the book would have benefitted from some additional editing to correct some of the simple spelling errors and word usage errors. Those glaring errors are the only reason I would give the story four stars instead of five, because Tammy’s story is undeniably a full five stars.
Describing Tammy to someone who hasn’t read her autobiography feels almost as if she must be fictional: how could one woman overcome all those challenges thrown at her? Not only is Tammy an inspiration, but she was also eye-opening to me. I knew nothing of the ghetto lifestyle in the projects that she describes, and her story reiterates the age-old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” At the conclusion of her autobiography, my overwhelming emotion was one of thinking that Tammy’s story would be amazing to share through radio or podcast. The courage and strength that it took Tammy to share her and her family’s story with readers should not be underestimated, and I hope that many readers have the opportunity to learn from her experiences.
Pages: 257 | ASIN: B07BFKCQZ9
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