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This is America… in a Book

*This is a book review of Dear Martin by Nic Stone.

Quick Facts

Author: Nic Stone
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: Fiction
Main Characters: Justyce and Manny
Number of Pages: 240
SJ Rating: 100%

The Review


This is probably the best book I’ve read this year.

That’s it. That’s the review.

I’m kidding, but this book is truly jaw dropping and gripping in every way possible. It’s so incredibly realistic and relevant, and the book accurately portrays how jacked up America is.

Dear Martin is gut-wrenching from the jump and immediately shows how the color of your skin trumps your knowledge. It does not matter how intellectual you are; people will still dislike you because of the color of your skin. There’s a quote in the book, I believe Justyce says it, that describes what kind of feeling this evokes in Black people: “Knowing there are people who don’t want me to succeed is depressing.” Imagine working tens time harder than everyone around you and still not receiving any sort of recognition.

Everyone and everything is present: White person who recognizes privilege. White person who doesn’t recognize privilege. Black person with money, blind to his privilege. Black person without money, who is always conflicted. Police partners. Gang members. Blackface. Biased false stories told by the media.

There’s a moment in the book where Justyce describes something I’m sure all, if not most, Black people have felt at least once in their lives: “Every day I walk through the halls of that elitist-ass school, I feel like I don’t belong there… Every time I turn on the news and see another black person gunned down, I’m reminded that people look at me and see a threat instead of a human being.” One word: powerful.

There’s also a little bit of romance, which I always appreciate, especially when it doesn’t overshadow the entire premise of the book. Nic Stone even includes the difficulty of trying to date outside your race.

Believe it or not, that’s just the beginning of all that can be found in those 240 pages.

The entire book is an emotional roller coaster that perfectly depicts the challenges and fears of being Black, especially in America. When I reached the climax of the book, my heart broke and tears spilled down my face. Yeah, you’re in for an emotional time.

For the actual writing aspect, I enjoyed the varying writing styles Nic Stone used. The constant switch between third person point-of-view and first person point-of-view is done seamlessly.

“You ever consider that maybe you not supposed to ‘fit’? People who make history rarely do.”

Justyce’s mom

I would love for this to be a movie and receive the same attention The Hate U Give received. It’s a completely different book with the same message, and Nic Stone did a beautiful job of depicting that.

Next book to be read and reviewed: Internment by Samira Ahmed

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