The Awakening Malcolm X -- YA Novel with many insights to Malcolm X's life and thoughts


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe it is the last week of February. For our last week of Black History Month we are sharing a new novel about Malcolm X that is co-written by his daughter. Now a few years ago I shared her first novel about her father, X: A Novel. Today's book picks up where that one leaves off, but you do not need to have read the last one to read this one. Today's is The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson. 

This story begins with Malcolm being put in prison. Throughout the story he has memories of life as a boy as well as in Roxbury and Harlem. The book delves into his lowest point in life. He is serving time in jail in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The place is truly a hell. It is run by racists and full of Black convicts. They are being put down and forced to work for free. During this time he begins to see the truth of what Blacks are facing. This book is eye-opening as a white person. To see life at his lowest points and see the process of finding himself and bettering himself is truly amazing. He does get transferred to the Norfolk Correctional Institute which was among the first in the nation to be about rehabilitation rather than punishment. It treated the prisoners with more respect and tried to educate them. There he was on a debate team and there he discovered Islam. His family had been encouraging him to find Islam for a long time but it was at this new place that he did. It was here that he saw his true calling an potential. He also realized that he needed and wanted to help other Black men out from the oppression of white people. He knew he needed to go back to the jail in Charlestown to save his brothers. He was sent back there when he refused to be given an experimental shot. He saw someone else get sick from it and refused to have the vaccine. He felt that the government did not have the right to force the prisoners to be experiment specimens. He got sent to Charlestown along with two of his friends all for refusing the vaccine. 

I found this story so moving and so interesting. The story is written so you can feel his emotions. It is well written and a page turner. His thoughts are shared through out the book and it really was an excellent example of systemic racism and seeing how the government is keeping Black people down. I also found it interesting that Greenwood is mentioned in the book. His discovery of Islam and working with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad truly changes his life and his own views of life and racism. He is able to see how the system holds the Black man down and the book is able to explain it in a way that I personally had not thought previously. I was very moved by this book and suggest everyone read it. It is a novel but is written based on Malcolm X's life and the memories of his daughter. It is truly about his awakening and turning his life around. It is powerful and definitely will bring discussions about race and racism into classrooms and book clubs. 

I would also like to share that Ilyasah Shabazz co-wrote a book about her mother, Betty. I shared it a few years ago as well.