Sunday, May 31, 2015

X: A Novel by Ilysah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

Another season of YA Sync has started over at! Every week, two free audiobooks are offered for download to Overdrive: one is a YA title, and the other is a canonical or "required reading" title. Last week, Ilyasah's X: A Novel was paired with Here in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers. Between driving, walking, and working, I finished X in just over a week and loved it. 

X tells the story of the childhood of Malcolm X, following through his adolescence, teenage years, and early adulthood. Shabazz is Malcolm X's middle daughter, and an extensive author's note at the end of the novel describes her ability to communicate the intimate stories and details of her father's life. Malcolm's journey begins in Lansing, Michigan, where he lives with his siblings and mother. He then goes to live with his half-sister Ella in Boston, and then to Harlem after that. He changes his name and identity with each move: from Malcolm in Michigan, Red in Boston (because of the light colour of his hair), to Detroit Red in Harlem. He works, hustles, and eventually serves time in prison for theft.

Shabazz and Magoon's writing is excellent in X, with language that evokes the time period, and a careful detail to the historical that follows through the Great Depression and WWII. I loved listening to the novel as an audiobook, and hope to buy a physical copy of the book in the next few weeks!