Meta Rules Of The S.M.F. – Review
Meta Rules Of The S.M.F. is a story about the Serious Mother Fuckers gang, how it came about, what it stood for, and how it evolved. The main character, Mala, was a smart and intelligent narrator of the story. There was a hint of Catcher in Rye’s Holden Caulfield about Mala – but in an interesting and insightful way. Don’t get me wrong, I found Holden annoying in Catcher in the Rye, but I thoroughly liked Mala. When he meets Jonas, aka Cloud, the S.M.F. was born.
What I particularly liked about Meta Rules Of The S.M.F. is it’s like a real autobiography, aged and shaped by true life experience. There was a hint of the vibe I got from the Malcolm X autobiography. And in some ways it also reminded me some of those old time mafia stories that span several decades. Meandering from one event to another, much as life often does. In that sense, it didn’t have a traditional plot or story arc. It was focused more on character development over the course of a string of events and life experiences within the S.M.F. gang.
I really enjoyed the way the characters developed. In the beginning there was the typical teenage naivety and you got to see how various characters matured through the different events – that’s if they didn’t get rubbed out by the violence surrounding the S.M.F. gang. By the end of the book the characters were more than just names on the page to me. As they had grown, I had grown to like them a lot. So much so that one of the final events in the book was emotionally moving for me.
The story of the gang, and its philosophy, was interesting. S.M.F. isn’t your typical street gang. They have a well developed moral code. No drugs, no guns, a desire to bring peace and security to their turf. They had a type of honor that other gangs didn’t. It was what kept them going. There was a real feeling of brotherhood among the S.M.F. But don’t let these things fool you into thinking they were some kind of boy scout operation. These guys were into stealing, gambling, money lending, and more. And if someone got in their way, or betrayed them, they would turn on a dime and teach that person a lesson. They say not to bring a knife to a gun fight – but these guys only ever brought knives to gun fights. And it didn’t stop them one bit from winning, growing, and dominating.
Paul John Adams’ writing was very solid. It was very expressive, and intelligent. Meta Rules Of The S.M.F. has an aged quality to it that almost makes it timeless. The book gives me the feeling Paul is well read in the classics of urban fiction. Interactions and dialogue between characters felt natural. I did stop and pause to think around one aspect of the language in the book, and Paul got the chance to address that when I interviewed him. You should check out the interview and you’ll see just how much thought he put into this book.
I give Meta Rules Of The S.M.F. four stars. This is a book I enjoyed and had that sinking feeling when I turned the last page – can’t there be more? I’d definitely recommend this book to urban fiction readers – especially, but not only, for fans of authors like Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.