When I picked up Ghetto Cowboy I expected to find a middle grade novel about African American cowboys post Civil War. It is post Civil War. It just takes place about 100 years later than I expected. Ghetto Cowboy takes place in the world we live in today. A world with crime, poverty, and high dropout rates in inner city schools. All of these issues effect Cole, a 12 year old boy, living on the edge.
Cole’s mom is fed up with his shenanigans , so she throws him in the car and they drive through the night from Detroit to Philidelphia, where Cole is dropped off to live with his father. The father that he has never met. The father that walked out on his mom when Cole was an infant. Don’t expect a warm and fuzzy meeting.
Cole sees something in Philly that he didn’t see in Detroit: horses. Cole finds himself in the middle of a stable full of horses. A stable full of horses in downtown Philadelphia. Going from doing whatever he wanted on the streets of Detroit, to shoveling horse crap in downtown Philidelphia is quite the shock for Cole, but the real shock comes when the lifestyle starts to grow on Cole.
Ghetto Cowboy, to me, is a book about a community standing up and fighting for what they believe in. It’s a book about a community not settling for gang-banging and drive-by’s. I enjoyed watching Cole and Harper try to figure out how to be father and son.
The idea for Ghetto Cowboy came from real life cowboys in North Philly.