X, The Life of Malcolm X

April 6, 2017

X, simpley X. What kinda book title is one letter long? you may ask. Well maybe you should open the cover and ponder the many letters within the book before you start judging, as this story is far more interesting than this one little title can show.

The novel X, written by Ilyasah Shabazz, takes its readers on an adventure through the United States in the mid 1900s, with African-American protagonist  Malcolm Little, a young man looking for change. Taught all his life about the strength of his people, Malcolm dreamed of big things, until tragedy strikes, and his world is turned upside down in a flash. Now on his own, Malcolm needs to figure out his place in the world, fight his inner demons, and truly learn what life is worth living for.

From the little town of Lansing, Michigan to the mean streets of Harlem, Ilyasha builds a deep picture of how the racism ingrained in society affected the lives of people in the past so heavily, and shattered the dreams of so many. She really drives this point home while also building up a genuinely entertaining story of love, daring hijinx, and mental struggles between Malcolm, and himself. From town to town, Malcolm learns new lessons, and I think, even though this was a completely different time, that this story teaches its readers about the real dangers involved in crimes and criminal activity, and leads them down a safer, more responsible path.
One thing that I did find to be a bit lack luster is the ending, as, although it still adds new, valuable messages to the mix, it struggles to keep to the pace and rushes to its conclusion. This rush gives much to be desired in some portions of the story, while the rest is very descriptive, parts of the end just don’t quite meet the demand. That said, the book is, overall, very solid, and a well cultured read, full of many hard-hitting moments, and great lessons for all readers. If you’re looking to pick up a book about adventure, here it is. A story about deep cultural roots? This is it. How about a good, well rounded book in general, X could be the novel for you. Anyone who’s able to read can thoroughly enjoy this book in its entirety, and I recommend it as a modern classic.

I give it 4 ½ stars

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