One of my favorite YouTube personalities is Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. Sparky hosts “Thug Notes” for the Wisecrack YouTube channel. The premise is simple: Sparky, dressed like something out of a stereotypical rap video, presents a summary and analysis of a classic (or sometimes recent) work of literature. He does so while speaking “gangsta”.
As it turns out, Sparky’s analysis is actually generally spot on. It would be one thing for Sparky to make comments about various books to suggest he has no clue what he is talking about. Instead, the joke is Sparky is a very well-read fellow with a good mind for great books. He just uses a style of language generally not associated with academia.
But hey, what’s this about a Thug Notes book?
Yeah, one exists, and I read it. The various reviews and analysis of each book covered by the Thug Notes book can also be found on various YouTube episodes. Sparky discusses works like Hamlet, Things Fall Apart, Pride and Prejudice, and To Kill A Mockingbird.
The good news for readers is that the various reviews are not simply transcripts of Sparky’s YouTube show. While much of the information is more or less the same, there’s generally more packed in, including sections where Sparky quotes other works of classic literature that carry similar themes, followed by Sparky’s translation into gangsta.
The bad news, for me, is I think the character loses something when transferred from video to the page. And as much as I enjoy Sparky’s commentary, I generally can only watch so many videos at once before the joke starts to get old.
But as I said, Sparky’s commentary is actually pretty darn good. Don’t let his appearance fool you. The character, as played by actor Greg Edwards, does know what he’s talking about.
Given the lack of a audible voice, and the repetition, I’m going to give this book a good six out of ten “Naw mean?”s. Watch the videos instead.
In fact, here’s a video where Sparky discusses one of Jenny’s favorite books: