X is a novelisation of the early life and transformation of Malcolm Little to Malcolm X.
Written by well-known YA author Kekla Magoon with Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter, the story is grippingly told, weaving forward and back in time from Malcolm’s hard childhood as part of a large loving family, broken up by first his father’s death and his mother’s admission to a mental institution. From the age of thirteen Malcolm and all his siblings were fostered out to different homes. The death of his father and his mother’s incarceration (as well as his childhood home burning down) were precipitated by his parents strong activism for black rights (they were followers of Marcus Garvey).
Malcolm rejects his parents’ values, becomes a hustler nicknamed Red, gets involved in drugs and crime and ends up in prison. Despite his troubles, the bonds wth his brothers and sisters remain and finally pull him through.
It is his siblings’ conversion to Islam that persuades Malcolm to become a Muslim and we leave him at the end of the book, changing his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X (symbolising the African name he would never know, his own being the legacy of slaveowners).
A superbly well-told illuminating look at the young life of an American icon. 14+