Publisher: Crown Books
Page Count: 220
I’ve wanted to pick up Dear Martin for the longest time, but I am just glad I finally got around to actually reading it. Not going to lie, I always find it hard to review books like this one. The topics of racial profiling and police brutality are so very important and especially these days, but they also aren’t easy to digest. While I always have that urge to say that it’s a bit different in my country, because the police isn’t as trigger happy as let’s say the US, it would be a blatant lie to say we aren’t struggling with racism as well. Also, my temporary discomfort is nothing compared to the continued struggle of people of colour, so I really just want to recognise how important of a read this is!
Dear Martin is reminiscent of books like All American Boys and The Hate U Give, but also very much its own story with its own style (definitely loved the mixed format of regular text, letters and news broadcasts). Where the other books took me days and days to read, I couldn’t put down Dear Martin and I was done within 2-3 hours. I thought about whether I would have wanted more, but with a little time to ponder over it, I think it really was the perfect length. While I would have appreciated a little more character development from various people here and there and a bit more of a cohesive timeline, I overall can’t say anything really bothered me in this book. In fact, I absolutely loved reading it!
“It’s like I’m trying to climb a mountain, but I’ve got one fool trying to shove me down so I won’t be on his level, and another fool tugging at my leg, trying to pull me to the ground he refuses to leave.”
From the get go, Justyce is a good guy. You see him making all (or at least mostly) the right choices and you are rooting for him, while you also see life and even more so people trying to tear him down every step of the way. My heart really hurt for him, because why be good? Why be the reasonable one? Why keep trying and making those right choices when the reward will never come? No one can tell me they wouldn’t feel defeated after a while, if they knew there were others out there who didn’t want them to succeed. It’s a struggle and one some people will never understand but I hope that this book will get them a little closer to it. Black people or people of colour in general should not have to be excellent at everything they do to be valued members of our communities. It’s a ridiculous notion and something a lot of white people have to work hard to dismantle in their minds.
If I had any say in this, I would make the book part of so many schools reading lists, because I am sure it will not only give people a way of seeing themselves in literature, but it also opens up a discussion about so many important and very current issues.
Obviously, this book has my recommendation written all over it! It’s gripping and real. It’s a punch in the gut and an eye opener. In short, it’s a real must-read.
Fazit: 5/5 stars! Definitely wouldn’t mind if this book was part of a mandatory reading list in some schools!
Did you read Dear Martin? Do you intend to? Let’s talk!