I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.X Narrator: Dion Graham
Length: 8 Hours 56 Minutes
Published by Candlewick Press on January 6th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, People & Places, United States, African American, Historical, 20th Century, Social Issues, Prejudice & Racism
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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.
Why Did I Listen To X: A Novel?
I listened to X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon because I feel like I really do not know a whole lot about Malcolm X, except that he was a pretty important person to the Civil Rights Movement. A few summers back, X: A Novel was offered as one of the free Audiosync promotions during that SyncYA summer program, where each week you can download a free classic audiobook and a free young adult audiobook. (FYI — I love Sync — it’s a great way to get free audiobooks and then fit in more reading into my schedule). So, earbuds in, I was so ready to learn all kinds of things about Malcolm X.
What’s The Story Here?
Essentially — so I would not cite this book as a source or anything. It opens up with Malcolm living in poverty with his family. His mother is a single mom — because their father died. Times are lean and tough. The family is consistently having Child Protective Services called on them. Rather than acting as a force to protect children from abuse, CPS in this book is a force to enact systemic racism. There is a thread of fear that the family will be split up and that Malcolm’s mom will lose her children. It’s actually quite heartbreaking to read about. Anyways, so we fast forward, and Malcolm finds himself living in the city with his aunt, and then eventually working for the rail line, leading quite the glamorous life. Next, he’s moving to Harlem. In this book we see him make both good and bad life choices. We see how certain things have come to shape the historical figure he would eventually become.
Did I Learn Anything?
Actually, I did learn quite a bit while listening to Ilyash Shabazz’s X: A Novel. I feel like Malcolm X is quite the fascinating historical figure. He’s complex and not perfect. I mean, I like that this book shows that you do not have to be a perfect person to make your mark on history or to fight for your rights. I think that some people think you have to be pristine or untouchable to make a difference- but you don’t. I just — really liked that, even though I know that isn’t quite the point of the book.
Who Should Listen To This Book?
- History fanatics who need to brush up on Malcolm X
- Students who could use a personal connection with the Civil Rights Movement
- Readers who like stories about complex, imperfect people
How’s The Narration of X: A Novel?
The narrator of X: A Novel by Kekla Magoon and Ilyash Shabazz is Dion Graham. Graham’s voice does a superb job capturing the cadences of the story and the rhythm. His narration is the driving force of this audiobook. I cannot think of a more perfect narrator. I did not find myself bored or with attention wandering. The audiobook is a quick listen too — at 8 hours and 56 minutes. I would definitely recommend the audiobook version of X: A Novel to busy people who maybe aren’t as up on their history as they should be.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
True back then, true today.
Other Reviews of X: A Novel by Ilyash Shabazz and Kekla Magoon:
Hollywood The Write Way – “a solid read fit for anyone looking for the greatest novelization of Malcolm X’s life”
The Book Wars – “an easy book to sink into”
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