X: A Novel

Ilyasah Shabazz, Kekla Magoon
Cowritten 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.


Reviewed: 2018-12-10

Malcolm X ... this is tougher than any other book I have yet to review. Why should my thoughts on this book matter as a white man growing up with privilege? And yet I will press on with an attempt. As I am an educator and seeking to establish a library in a town outside of Cordoba Mexico, I have tackled the topic of racism from many angles. Malcolm X remains a venerable role model for strong, confident black men. His youthful struggle retold here by his daughter makes him even more so. His struggles parallel those of many people of color in apartheid America, then under the boot of Jim Crow and today under the toupee of 45. 

Having read the Autobiography and seen the Spike Lee film, there wasn't much new for me to glean. What I did like was hearing how his siblings joined the Nation of Islam prior to his own conversion. Being separated from his family by choices, by distance, and by bars, perhaps this gave him a way to reconnect with them. 

I want this book in my library. It is well written and, while not exactly new, offers another point of view, another voice about this important man. I think it is well that this community in Mexico know more than just the famous white people that fill American history. Young Mexican men face similar struggles including poverty and separation from family. 

Biblioteca Inglesa de Fortin 
(English Library of Fortin)
Fortin de las Flores, Veracruz, Mexico

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