Nubian Circle Book Club

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Hacker Cracker Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes


As the full title suggests, Hacker Cracker:  A Journey from the Mean Streets of Brooklyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace, is a coming of age story of a boy as he physically, emotionally and intellectually matures.  Ejovi witnesses his mother slowly succumb to AIDS related complications, battles with the inner city street gangs, deals with family drama, and yields to unrelenting peer pressure.  At one point in his young life, he attempts suicide and spends time in a mental ward.  He shares his childhood life stories and admits how his first introduction to hacking was that on the side of wrongdoing (soliciting credit card numbers from unsuspecting online users).  Through a twist of fate, he applies his skills toward good and goes legit in the field of computer security. 

This story is an autobiography, however since the author is so young, the book spends a great deal of time discussing his days as an outcast in high school and his adventures in the different hacking groups and online communities. Although his computing exploits may be interesting to the "techies" of the world, I fear that lay people will struggle to retain interest during those sections of the book.  More importantly, I think this novel is a testament to a man who could have easily fell victim to his circumstances.  He was/is largely self-taught and chose to use his intellect and street smarts to capitalize on his programming skills.  This novel is an inspirational read for young people as it demonstrates that alternatives and opportunities exist everywhere---one just has to be open and willing to consider the possibilities. 

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Hacker Cracker:  A Journey from the Mean Streets of Brooklyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace is a 3 of 5 stars.  Please e-mail us at if you have comments.