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Book Review – Thug Notes: A Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature

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Thug Notes: A Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature by Sparky Sweets, PhD

Thug Notes A Street-Smart Guide to Classic Literature

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: The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Pride & Prejudice, The Color Purple, Hamlet, Things Fall Apart, and more!

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.

We’re big fans of Thug Notes here at The Dinglehopper. In fact, we’ve posted about several Wisecrack endeavors. And while I haven’t personally witnessed it, rumor has it that Sparky Sweets, PhD, is providing some flavor in my partner’s classroom. When we saw there was gonna be a book, we jumped at the chance to check it out.

First things first. The content is not identical to the webisodes. You’re getting something similar, sure. But there’s content above and beyond video transcripts. That was my first question. I reckon it was yours, too.

Second, the dialect that flows so easily from the lips of Dr. Sweets is serviceably transliterated. After a few sentences, I was entirely used to it. I can’t speculate whether that would be the case for an uninitiated reader. So. Let’s clear that up.

There, now he’s in your head. Refer back as needed. I’d actually recommend checking out the sample pages available online somewhere like Amazon.

If it’s a stumbling block, but you liked what you heard in the video, then I have have good news. There’s an audiobook narrated by Greg Edwards, Sparky Sweets himself. And it’s incredible.

The book performs some fast and dense critical analysis of sixteen classic texts. What’s great is that it does it in an interesting way. Thug Notes doesn’t necessarily have new revolutionary things to say, but it engages the reader. It sneaks literary analysis in with humorous vernacular, adroit observation, and affable confidence.

The analyses are divided into repeated sections, introducing the text, then the characters, then summarizing and analyzing the plot. The paper doll art from the web series is used sparingly but effectively. Perhaps the best parts, however, are the reinterpretations of classic lines. Sweets takes the florid artful language of the original texts and represents them in brief hilariously accurate “remixes.”

We love literature. We talk about it for fun or for work or just out of necessity. But Thug Notes occasionally articulates something so simply, so perfectly, that our passion for one of these old tomes is instantly reignited.


Recommended for fans of Harold Bloom, KRS-ONE, and W.E.B. Du Bois.


Author: Cassandra

mom, wife, accounts payable, serial dropout, theory bitch, anarcho-idunno-syndicalist, literary alchemy enthusiast

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