Hi, I’m Aimee, and I’m a reader. In my 27 years, I’ve read a lot of books in a lot of different genres: literary fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, horror, historical fiction, and more. But most of these books, as different as they were plot and setting-wise, had one thing in common: They were written by white, able-bodied, cisgender heterosexual people, and very few of them featured characters explicitly stated to be minorities.
I’ve decided to diversify my reading list and share my reviews of books by and about people of color, disabled people, LGBTQIA people, and people of other minorities. As a white, cisgender, able-bodied woman, I don’t claim to be any kind of authority on the oppression these authors and their characters face, since I’ll never face it myself. My goal is simply to educate myself on their oppression and promote diversity in the literary world.
For my first read, I’ve chosen How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon.
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into 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.
This book was featured on a high school reading list at my local library, and the summary immediately piqued my interest. The number of black youth killed by white people (particularly white cops) over the past two years is truly disturbing, as is the media’s distortion of the events to vilify the victims. I look forward to seeing how Magoon explores these issues in her book.