Finishing: A Senior Year Haunted By The Past

Mr. E
Cornerstone Academy (2013)
ISBN 9780989985208
Reviewed by Cristina Lanzi for Reader Views (11/13)


“Too much money at stake, too many guns on the street, too many supplies to remain independent.”  That is the one sentence of the story that says it all. In “Finishing: A Senior Year Haunted By The Past” by Mr. E, teen drug dealer Wesley finds himself involved in something bigger than he originally planned. There’s a gang war in Chicago and he knows he shouldn’t take part in any of their stunts, but he is smart and eager to sniff out what happened to his dead brother Curtis who happened to be entangled with the same hustlers.

Within a few months, circumstances give him drive; not only he becomes a key element of the main gang in the city but he also holds an undercover task for the putting down of the whole organization. Being in this strategic position, Wesley discovers that his brother had started something that had to be finished. He decides that he will do whatever it takes to honor his death, and if that means going to jail or being hurt or killed, so be it!

“Finishing” is the story of a street guy who wasn’t born with much and has a sad family history, but also has the brain and personality to succeed in life. It is a novel that probably starts as many others, describing the life of the members of the gangs of a big city, as well as the people they regularly interact with, trying to arrest, control, step on or help them. However, knowing that both the author and the student who inspired the story are part of an established institution like the Cornerstone Academy of Chicago certainly captures readers’ attention.

One essential sentence that grabbed my attention was: “I hate when you can’t tell your friends from your enemies.” I believe it describes how these people have to feel on a daily basis. In fact, what makes this book worth being read is the realistic point of view of an eighteen-year-old teen. Mr. E lets the story flow unpretentiously without linguistic fanciness, and if at first it might look like a lack of style on his side, you then realize that his approach helps the reader to feel closer to the lead character and it makes it easy to share both his anger and courage.

Although I liked the story and the realistic point of view of the writer, I only gave a 3.5 rating because in my opinion “Finishing: A Senior Year Haunted By The Past” by Mr. E is not a must-read book due to its ordinary writing and, I would add, to the clichéd ending. However, I would suggest it to a young-adults crowd because of the interesting appeal of the novel. It is a colorful book that gives a glimpse of a too often ignored aspect of our society.

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