The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah is a cult classic, so the long anticipated sequel Life After Death was something many wanted for just over two decades.
The Let’s Read management team decided to read both The Coldest Winter Ever and Life After Death, as The Coldest Winter had been a book referred to by many as one of their favourite books. In addition, as there was such affection for the original book, reading its sequel soon after its release was a no brainer.
I myself had read it several years ago (nearly 20 years ago). I had planned to reread The Coldest Winter to see for myself whether I still liked the book. If I recall, I had read The Coldest Winter Ever a few times and it was an easy read at the time. However, due to a lack of time as well as my displeasure at reading Life After Death (first time around) I have to admit I didn’t bother.
Life After Death begins with Winter Santiaga in prison, following a 15 year sentence because, as you’ll remember from the end of TCWE, she got sentenced for being in Bullet’s car which was full of drugs and guns and had been rented with her credit card. She’s just about to get released and has secured a reality TV show gig that will center on her release from jail, along with a few of her recently released jail crew
Reading Life After Death in 2021, terminology such as females versus men really jars me, but is in keeping with the genre and type of people in the book. The language throughout is quite violent, and I realised that I no longer read books in this genre/ listen to much hip hop anymore, that the constant use of nigga (rather than with the -er, I presume as I listened to the audiobook and the characters are all Black) was quite grating to my British ears 😂. On the positive, I commend Nia Long for getting through the book without bursting into laughter
We discussed both Life After Death and The Coldest Winter Ever at the June edition of Let’s Read, and it’s fair to say it was nearly a unanimous null point for Life After Death for those who had read TCWE years before. A couple of the readers who had not read any of Sister Souljah’s work were more kind in their assessment of both her books and found something positive to say about Souljah’s view on religion. For myself, I found it blasphemous and not an enjoyable read whatsover. In truth it didn’t feel like it was written by the same person. I was also left feeling that I wouldn’t read any more of her work. This goes against my supporting Black authors mantra, but support doesn’t mean supporting any and everything either. As you can see from my blog, I generally read books by Black authors, or of Black interest so check out the other books I’ve recommended and give Life After Death a wide berth.
The Coldest Winter Ever and Life After Death by Sister Souljah are available from your usual retailers.
Have you read any of Sister Souljah’s books? If so, what are your thoughts? What was your favourite?