Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ALL AMERICAN BOYS by JASON REYNOLDS and BRENDAN KIELY

#rashadisabsentagaintoday

It was just another day for Rashad. He just finished ROTC, and it was a Friday, so he was bound to party. He first stopped at the convenience store to get himself some chips until he fell over and was accused of shoplifting. The misconstrued situation would get out of hand that would bring Officer Paul Galluzzo to the scene and get Rashad sent to the hospital. From then on, the issue would drag on as something beyond just a mere case of petty theft, teenage rebellion or police brutality, surely way beyond.
Our silence is another kind of violence.

First things first, I’m happy to have read such an important writing. All American Boys is in every bit a writing made for every person in this world. It bears social relevance, as it is evidently all about racial discrimination in America. Although it is not in the local setting, I’d say it is still something that may be enjoyed and brooded over by anyone from anywhere.

This was no love story or family drama. The writing was simple and direct.  And without so much of the crazy turning and twisting of events, I was able to focus more on the content and message of the story. And even without the said twists, the book still remained to be a serious and heavy drama because of the intensity of its subject. It was impossible not to get caught up and drawn in the book.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. – Desmond Tutu

It provided awareness. It made me see things in an angle that was really descriptive. And more than providing awareness, it was also such a thought-provoking piece. It encouraged weighing in on the matter at hand.

It was one compelling read. With powerful statements, it was able to send really strong messages across. It made me realize how bad the situation is and how it is not yet a thing of the past. I’ve chanced upon some articles and shows about this issue before, and I thought I already know how bad things are. But after this, I saw just how worse everything is. It still shocked me to read about this specific situation which, though fictional, is still based in real life events.

This is yet another novel taken from the point of view of teenagers, two high school students, one being the victim himself and the other being a witness, a schoolmate who also happened to be really close with the accused officer. Like I said before, I’ve always appreciated the power of using a teenager’s perspective to make an impact because it’s always so effective. When a young character comes to a realization, it says a lot about how gravely real, serious and clear something becomes.     

If I didn’t want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things. – Quinn

Mostly what I liked about this novel was how it ended at such a hopeful and positive note. It was a little bit hanging, but it ended really well. It didn’t have any concrete end or solution to it, but what’s anyone to expect? Because how can anyone do that, right? And when you really reflect on it, it was actually more melodramatic that way.

Based on what I was presented with in this book, I knew which side I was on. That said, it also kind of got me feeling confused in a way because there was also another thing about a person’s call for judgment and perception. On this matter in the book, I was also shown that anything could’ve happened. Points of view would mean all the difference. Things could mean anything. It could be anyone’s fault. There would always be more to the story.  

All American Boys may be treated as a protest, a plea, a reality check, or a call for action. There are different ways of looking at this novel, but whichever angle a person chooses to see, one thing’s for sure, it should not only be deserted after it has been read.

Are you done reading this book? What are your thoughts? I’d like to know them! Feel free to share them below!


Photo source: http://www.simonandschuster.ca/

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