X by Ilyasha Shabazz and Kekla Magoon


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X, a novel by Ilyasha Shabazz and Kekla Magoon, is a historical-fiction memoir featuring the beginning of Malcolm X's life before he became the renowned human rights activist who we know of today. I found this one day at my local library's book sale and thought two things: 1. The cover is beautiful and 2. This sounds interesting. Oh, I was incredibly right and X definitely deserves a 5/5 star rating. WARNING: The review that I am about to give may have spoilers; so if you have not read X, either read X or just read my review.=)
     As I have said prior, this novel gives a fictionalized insight into Malcolm X's life as a child and into his young adulthood. Through the course of this book, Malcolm falls in love, gets in trouble, deals with hardships, and becomes an entirely different person. The story first starts in the 1940s. Malcolm is described as an African American man, or "just a Negro," who cannot do anything that he dreams of doing. As a kid, he is taught and encouraged by his strict, orthodox mother that he can do anything he wants even though he is African American. He also cares and feeds his family by stealing food from other people, even though the last time he did it in Lansing, he put his mother into a mental hospital. After that, he moves from foster family to foster family until he finally has enough and moves in with his half-sister Ella in Boston. There, he meets Shorty, his best friend, and Sophia, his lover; also, he works at the local dance club as a shoe shiner and the local diner as a waiter. Soon, he starts drinking, which is not approved of; so Malcolm, who is now called Red due to his copper hair, moves in with Shorty. He, then, decides to move to Harlem, New York, which he had visited frequently when he had gotten his job of selling food on the subway. In Harlem, Malcolm gets the name Detroit Red and becomes a drug dealer. He drinks more; he smokes more; he parties more than ever before. Soon, Malcolm learns that he has to watch out for others who he thought were his friends. Once his friendship with Archie, his drug dealer boss, dies due to a misunderstanding, Malcolm returns back to Roxbury and starts stealing from rich people's houses with Shorty, Sophia, and Sophia's sister. Malcolm is caught by the police one day when he goes to receive his newly fixed, stolen watch from the jewelers; then, he is thrown into prison with Shorty after Sophia tells the jury in court that she was used by Malcolm. Betrayed and sad, Malcom starts to fight against the prison officers and his fellow inmates. He receives letters from his siblings to follow the word of Allah and to become calmer. Because he follows their advice, he finds out who he really is: Malcolm X.
    I love this book and I think it is one of my favorite books of this year. I love Malcolm's character development throughout the story and how he realizes that he can do good with his life although he lived during a time period when people who grew up from different cultural backgrounds were seen as lesser human beings than people who were Caucasians. I was very sad to see that Sophia was using him throughout the story and that Malcolm did not realize it until all of the pieces of the puzzle were put together in the court trial. I also enjoy the flashbacks into the different times of his life that had shaped the Malcolm whom I was reading about in X. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend and to any stranger on the street(if I had the guts to do so). This book definitely deserves the five star rating I gave on Goodreads and in this blog post.

Where you can find X:

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