Thursday, January 07, 2016

Not the Malcolm X I know. X: A novel by Ilyasah Shabazz

X: A Novel

By Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon

Brilliance Audio

Audiobook Sync

Duration 8:56:12

Book Blurb

Co written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world. Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

Book Review

Ok.  So this was not bad for the target audience I think only the most dedicated of YA readers will stick with it.

It is a long book even on audio which normally goes past in a flash for me.  The repetitive statements got to be a bit much.  Up, up you mighty nation indeed.  Yes, Earl was an awesome father.  The mother, whom passed for white was a woman with dignity and with pride.  No question about it however, her pride was not for the betterment of the family.  It took from them did not add to them.  And Malcolm, even his daughter by the sounds of the narrative is very taken with how the mother withstood pressure to take handouts. 

Nowhere is there a discussion even a fictional one over how the parents shaped their children by not doing right by them.  The grandparents, parents everybody is totally upstanding.  Fighting for the cause.  Teaching pride and self reliance...well this turns out it does not work so well.

Also Malcolm was a juvenile delinquent even by this fictionalized account of his daughter.  Nothing he did in his youth had anything to do with a single thing that shaped the man we learned to know later on.  He drank, used drugs.  Ran numbers.  Got fired, hired, fired and come on let us not kid ourselves.  His “going crazy” act to get out of the military draft was nothing but cowardice.  Good thing I like so many believe in second chances but I must say, reading this book has me convinced that in the end X’s later life may have not been close to being as noble as numerous books I have read have had me believe. 

Still, I think this book is valuable.  The book is very good at filling in the gaps in the life of a youth wasted and then a life made to count.  For that alone I think this book is worth the read.

3 ***




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