Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.
Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s 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 lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.
X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. The story opens with his departure from Michigan as a teen, though there are flashbacks to his younger years. It follows Malcolm through his time in Boston and Harlem, culminating with his conversion to Islam and his decision to change his name while in prison in 1948.
The story does contain some gritty situations, most notably the use of the “n” word, non-graphic sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal behavior. This was the reality of Malcolm X’s early life, and make the later scenes that more authentic.While the novel stops prior to his rise as a civil rights leader, the excellent back matter provides historical context, bibliography, time line, family tree, and a note from the author (who is also the third of Malcolm X’s five daughters).
This is an eye-opening look at an important historical figure. The author’s honesty about his early troubles serves to convey that it is possible to rise through adversity to make a positive difference in this world. A worthwhile addition to any collection.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This fictionalized account of the boy who became Malcolm X maintains a suspenseful, poetic grip as it shifts among moments in his life between the years 1930 and 1948. … A compelling coming-of-age story.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An eye-opening look at an important historical figure. The author’s honesty about his early troubles serves to convey that it is possible to rise through adversity to make a positive difference in this world. A worthwhile addition to any collection.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Although this is a work of fiction, it’s strongly tethered to the facts, to the people and events that contributed to Malcolm’s world view and his path to becoming a leader. Malcolm’s voice is often funny, always perceptive, and as appreciative of beauty as he is critical of the disparity between the rights of whites and blacks.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Riveting. … Vivid. … Malcolm’s voice is often funny, always perceptive, and as appreciative of beauty as he is critical of the disparity between the rights of whites and blacks.
Malcolm inspired me with his eloquence, his wisdom, and his thirst for truth and righteousness. This powerful, page-turning story tells us how he discovered these qualities within himself.
Shabazz and Magoon do a remarkable job generating atmosphere, balancing family love in the face of dire circumstances against the pulsating energy of a self-assured young man swaggering through Harlem streets in a fine zoot suit and a conk…. The story of a reckless young man finding himself, X: A Novel is historical fiction at its best — an artistic exploration of a part of a renowned person’s life , one that stays true to his time and place.
Powerful and charming—makes you see things in a whole new way. One of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.