Top positive review
An important read for parents and students, alike
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2018
I was a very quiet kid, someone who watched and listened, tried to understand why people were the way they were, made the choices they did—good and bad. To this day, when I happen to see a photo of someone who stood up so faithfully for what they believed in, clinging to the hope that things could improve if they just kept chipping away with their voice and actions, I reflexively place my hand on their image as if it could somehow connect me to them. As if it could somehow tug me closer to understanding how they persevered. As if it could somehow allow them to give me advice on what was stirring in my heart as I watched and listened to the world around me.
In this novel, Justyce McAllister—a bright, motivated, top-of-his class student—takes it one step further. As he navigates a contemporary Atlanta where he is still seen more for the color of his skin than the content of his character, he regularly writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a journal, hoping that it will help him put Dr. King’s teachings into practice in order to manage everything that’s thrown at him.
I don’t want to give away the exact situations he faces, but I will say this: there is a safety in fiction that allows us to witness and begin to understand the harder stories and truths we flinch from in real life. Books like this get important views considered, get important conversations started. As a white person, I needed to get to know Justyce, for I’ve never been in his shoes, and the fact is that his fictional shoes are worn by millions today. As a mother to white children, I needed to own this book in order to place it into my kids’ hands and ensure the messages inside it are nailed home. Over and over again, until things do get better.
I highly recommend this book, and hope it gets into as many hands and hearts as possible.