A Novel

Book - 2015
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"Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's nothing but 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 carry him into increasingly dangerous territory when what starts as some small-time hustling quickly spins out of control. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he's found is only an illusion--and that he can't run forever"--Page 2 of dust jacket.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763669676
Characteristics: 348 pages, [26] unnumbered pages : 1 illustration ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Magoon, Kekla


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apollospacefan May 17, 2018

If you’ve read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, of course you’ll be familiar with all the major events of his life. This telling focuses on Malcolm’s young adult years, hoping to inspire young adults who also face challenges as they mature.

May 11, 2018

This was a very good book, I loved the pace and tone. I wish it would have gone more into his actual career because now I'm interested.

May 11, 2018

It was a very good book! While some parts were slow, it was a good insight into his early life and had a good tone and voice of writing.

This was a great read. It was fascinating to see life from that perspective and to see how he over came his challenges. It was a bit confusing when it would bounce around between the different points in time. Over all I suggest this to students around the ages of 14-17 because it does have some more mature themes.

May 11, 2018

This is a decent book that talks about how Malcolm X's life was in he teen years. It is an okay book for many ages, but they do talk about more mature events in his life. X for a while is very repetitive, so some parts of the book are on the boring side of things, but other parts and almost edge of your seat.

May 11, 2018

It was a good book, but it has a lot of boring and slow parts.

Sep 26, 2017

This book is a great inside look at Malcolm X's upbringing. Knowing that his daughter wrote it makes it much more relatable. I love the structure where it's almost like a diary.

ellie_o Jun 18, 2016

I found this book fascinating, especially reading it after "Out of Darkness" and at the same time as "March, Vol. 2"
I learned so much about Malcom X's early life from this book, which was great as an audiobook. It's a great example of narrative nonfiction that has a great hook - young Malcom is irresistible as a main character. His daughter does an excellent job in portraying a real person - faults and all - in this story of his youth. I would love to see this being used to help contextualize history for youth - I found it to be a great conversation starter in my GSC's discussions of "March."

Feb 27, 2016

I really liked the historical setting, Boston and Harlem in the 30s and 40s. The straightforward narration didn't draw me in right away, but once Malcolm got to the city and started working at jazz clubs, buying zoot suits and getting caught up in small-time hustling, I was fascinated. I can't remember reading much previously about this time period from the point of view of African-Americans in the city. I think it would be really interesting to modern city kids, to compare their experiences with Malcolm's. The music and the styles are different, but they'd probably recognize a lot.

I would have liked the pace to be a little slower, and get to know more of the side characters who seemed intriguing, but I never felt like I fully got to know them. It makes sense that events would move pretty briskly to fit in the real stories of Malcolm's youth. Others would probably appreciate the quick pace, which also manages to fit in the back story of his childhood. There are also a good number of interesting and relevant details; for example, the "conk" hairstyle that Malcolm X would later be critical of. Someone who went on to learn more about Malcolm X after reading this would probably uncover even more depth and similar connections.

JCLChrisK Jan 12, 2016

This is a story of jaded idealism. Of what happens when a young man raised to believe stops believing. How he turns his talent, intelligence, and charisma to living in the present and trying to squeeze every bit of pleasure from each moment with no thought to the future (and trying to suppress the past).

Teen Malcolm Little has always been taught by his parents that his people have a proud history that they can recapture with enough hard work. His father was a leader in the movement to bring about that reality. His father was killed for being such a leader when Malcolm was six. His mother struggled to find enough work during the depression to feed their large family. Ten years later, his mother was institutionalized as incompetent by the government for not bending her proud beliefs about accepting credit, eating pork, and other welfare offers. Starving, split from his family, surrounded by lynchings, told by his favorite teacher that despite getting perfect grades and being class president he'll never be anything in the real world but [Black], teen Malcolm Little has always been taught by experience to feel disillusioned about success and hard work. He heads to the city to make a name for himself on the streets, make a living as a hustler, and drown himself in as much drink, drugs, party life, and sex as he can acquire.

Malcolm X was killed when his third daughter (of five) was three. In this mildly fictionalized account, she and Kekla Magoon have pieced together family stories, letters, and intimate histories to recount her father's youth, before he converted to Islam and became famous as a Civil Rights leader. The narrative jumps back and forth from his early years with his family to his life on the streets as a hustler, ending with a very brief telling of his arrest and time in prison. It makes sense of what Malcolm found seductive about the party scene without shirking from what he did. It also makes sense of how he ended as Malcolm X not by becoming something entirely new but by returning to where he started. It makes him sympathetic and real. It tells a story many will relate to and find inspiration in (if only by extrapolating Malcolm's life after the end of this book).

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LibrarianDest Jan 28, 2016

LibrarianDest thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 03, 2015

Re_Bel thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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