X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz | Audiobook Review

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:

X: A Novel

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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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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