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BORN TO HUSTLE follows the lives of identical twin brothers as they learn to survive their abusive upbringing by identifying with fictional conmen, imitating behaviors of gangsters and secret agents, to become the bad-ass boys in black. With no one to protect them, the twins grow up fearful of attachments to anyone else but one another. They learn to use being idents to hustle the world around them, becoming the ultimate grifters focused on becoming as rich as possible as quickly as possible. Money is power – and they craved power.
As they mature, a fissure begins to emerge in their otherwise symbiotic relationship causing friction between the brothers, threatening to divide them. When one brother becomes involved with a female grifter, their differences become apparent, and threatens their relationship.
Born to Hustle is a novel about identical twin brothers with an abusive childhood who identify with strong figures in adulthood: con men, gangsters, and the personas of men who take charge, control, and action.
Their past experience has forged a bond that consists of co-dependency and an attraction to power without the kind of critical thinking that would temper that draw. Their lack of power in the past leads to a fascination with the avenues they perceive as empowering their lives; but their very closeness and choices leads to a rift between them that threatens to destroy everything.
In many ways, Born to Hustle is a story of the lasting impact of an abusive childhood on siblings who have devised ways to survive. In others, it's about adulthood choices and their influences on life trajectories. As the brothers find their lives changed by their foundation idea that "money is power" they come to question not only their lives, but their close relationship, identifying ways they are different: "How is it that Alan can so completely detach himself from hurting people? he thought. Despite their obvious similarities, he often thought about how different they were."
Even as they resist the idea of psychological intervention, their lives benefit from self-examination and a slowly evolving layer of critical thinking that influences everything.
On the surface, Born to Hustle is a focus on the streetwise quest for authority, meaning, and power. But underlying this series of encounters with the 'bad boys' of the underworld is an attention to psychological inspection that gives Born to Hustle the flavor of an introspective slice of shattered illusions and perceptions as one brother confronts another's new love and refutes a blossoming relationship's validity.
Brutal in its psychological honesty and compelling in its careful dance between twins who may not be as similar as it seems, Born to Hustle creates a dialogue of change and growth even as it traverses the streets of survival and assumptions.
Readers who like their novels replete with psychological inspection and re-evaluation will relish this story's attention to recovery, self-inspection, and evolution. Brian and Alan exist in a world where survival has traditionally been a knee-jerk response rather than a reasoned, critical effort. Their individual and shared changes, set against the backdrop of a street-savvy grasp for power and stability, are engrossing, realistic, and educational in this highly recommended, powerful drama.
Midwest Book Review