25 February 2015

Review: How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

"WHEN SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD TARIQ JOHNSON dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown in 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 truth.
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." (jacket summary)

So. Many.Thoughts. There seems to have been an increase in gun deaths among teenagers. However, I am not entirely sure if there has been in increase in deaths or just an increase in media attention. We live in a world where moments after something happens, EVERYONE knows. A world where journalist begin to sensationalize a story before all the facts are known. We make judgments based on what we are shown, never knowing the whole story. Even the people who witness these awful events don not know the entire story.

What I love about Kekla Magoon's novel is how she shows various witness point of views. How it Went Down demonstrates how people who witnessed Tariq's death saw different things and have conflicting stories. Did Tariq have a gun or was it a candy bar? Was Tariq in a gang or not? Why? Why? Why? So many questions, so many answers and still an incomplete conclusion.

Reading How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon,made me think about Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown and so many other who were gunned down. A time when conflicting news sources led us to such horrid opposition with one another that it lead to civil unrest, rioting and violence. This novel is amazing. So many passages made me stop and think, not only of teenagers being killed by gun and the stories that are never fully told, but how we consume our news. Do we wait to pass a judgement until all sides of the story are presented, or do we rush to make judgement and make everything much worse.

If you are ready to take a moment and really think, How it Went Down is the perfect book to help you think and a great way to start a global conversation.

Bonus: Song that went through my head as  I read How it Went Down: Glory from the movie Selma sung by John Legend and Common.


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