Sunday, February 11, 2018

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

I finished two novels this week and I'll post my thoughts on the second one later this week but first my thoughts on X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon.  This book was chosen as this year's Great Michigan Read.  Every year a book is chosen by the Michigan Humanities Council and the whole state reads this as their book club selection.  All books chosen generally have something to do with Michigan.  This one is a fictional young adult adult novel written by Malcolm X's daughter which focuses on his younger years.  I have to admit, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did and I think it is mainly because it changed my perspective of who this man was by learning where he came from. 

As I was born almost 20 years after Malcolm X was assassinated, I remained pretty ignorant of much of his life story (outside the Denzel Washington movie which I vaguely remember watching a long time ago).  For instance I had no idea that he had such strong ties to Michigan (grew up in Lansing), how he became involved with the Nation of Islam, what the turning point in his life was which turned him from petty criminal to prominent civil rights warrior, and really what the differences were between his championing of civil rights and that of his contemporaries.  Another surprise?  This book was well written and really easy to read.  I finished it in just over a day.  I led the discussion for this book at our morning book club last Wednesday and even though we had a small group, it was a very good discussion.  This is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own but it has definitely piqued my interest in learning more about the civil rights movement.  My only disclaimer here is this book was written for a YA adult audience and since it does contain references to drugs and sex on a regular basis, this might be better for older teens.  Not sure I'm ready for my 13 year old to read it quite yet, but definitely a worthy read.


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