Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
Reviewed by Mrs. Walker
Light It Up is an extremely topical novel about racism and police shootings in the USA. The tragic events that take place in this book are, sadly, exactly what has just made headline news around the world, “Georgia killing echoes brutal days of vigilante lynchings”, (NZ Herald 11/05/20, p.A23). Yet another young, unarmed, innocent, black man, gunned down by white supremacists, who claimed they thought Ahmaud Arbery was a burglar. He just happened to be going for a run when he was attacked and shot.
The opening scene of Light It Up describes The Incident, which has just happened. A young girl, only thirteen, is running home in the Winter dusk, when she is shot in the back by a police officer.
In a very dramatic format, fifteen different characters, or voices, including TV interviews, prose poetry and a Twitter feed develop the story.
This book is a fantastic read; perfect for reluctant readers in years 9 & 10, who want short chapters, great male and female characters they can relate to, and a good strong theme. It’s a very sad story, which broadens our understanding of current social history.
I recommend this novel to everyone who has enjoyed The Hate U Give, or The Help. As the author, Kekla Magoon, says in her acknowledgements, she hopes her book will bring “awareness to acts of bias and violence occurring in our midst. I hope the book sparks conversation, reflection, and a desire to work for equality and justice for all.”
The Wolf Hall trilogy and The Mirror & the Light, by Hilary Mantel
Reviewed by Mrs Walker
With millions of other eager Hilary Mantel fans, I seized my copy of The Mirror & the Light just before Covid-19 threw the country into lockdown. It sustained me for the first two and a half weeks in brilliant fashion. The Wolf Hall trilogy is a literary masterpiece and Mantel’s devoted readers will, like me, have revelled in all its many pages of historical drama, pageantry and intrigue. The three books tell of the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell; a fascinating character, a truly self-made man with remarkable talent who, under the patronage of the ill-fated Cardinal Wolsey, eventually comes under the eye of King Henry VIII.
Five hundred years of history fall away as Hilary Mantel brings the Tudor world to life, in all its deadly richness. This a world where everyone knows their place and you’re supposed to stay in it, all your precarious life. Thomas Cromwell’s amazing rise from the dregs of Putney, running away from home at the age of fourteen, escaping from his brutal father, Walter, a local brawler, blacksmith, and brewer of bad beer, to become King Henry’s right hand man, the person to whom the king entrusted all power and the reins of state, is utterly astonishing.
This BBC/Hulu adaptation of the hit novel about the on-again, off-again relationship between two Irish teenagers captures the beauty and brutality of first love perfectly
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