Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Book Review: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
Title: How It Went Down
Author: Kekla Magoon
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Year Published: 2014
First line: "The known facts surrounding the shooting death of sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson are few."
"The boy in the hoodie has been shot.
The known fact are few.
Everyone tells a different story.
But what is the truth?
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.
In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the trust.
Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down."
My Rating: 4/5
While I did not give this book a 5/5 rating, I definitely think it's a book everyone should read. It's a story we might see on the news every day or month, but it's not something that is a reality for many of us. To see someone from our community shot down and with such controversy about what happened and why it happened is astonishing to me. I think that Kekla Magoon did a wonderful job of showing how it affects many people who were a part of Tariq's life and some who just lived around him. All and all this book is about so much more than who was right and who was wrong. It's about what we believe in and hopes that someday, with work, things will change. I don't know how realistic this book is and as a white middle-class woman living in a rural area. But it did paint a picture for me about how many people live their lives and how it's not always easy to say, "Get away from violence" or "Gang violence is horrible" "Why can't we all just get along?" when you're living through it. Kekla Magoon paints a vivid picture of grief, lonesomeness and wonders that surround life for many people in the 21st century and I feel blessed to have read this novel.
Thanks for reading,