Dear Martin by Nic Stone

3 min read

5 STARS

Dear Martin by Nic Stone is my favorite reads this year. I felt every single emotion while reading this novel. I was happy, sad, pissed off, elated, etc.

I’m going to do this review a wee bit differently than I normally would so bear with me. Instead of the normal – let me tell you why I loved this book, I’m going to tell you how the book can open your eyes.

I might get a tad messy but I promise it’s in a good way.

Let’s first hear with the author has to say. . .

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Synopsis

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

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Nic Stone weaves a powerful story about a young black teenager navigating his way in a mostly white private high school. He’s always known that his life is different from his classmates because of his skin color. It becomes more and more apparent when he’s on the receiving end of racial profiling. He doesn’t have the best support team at school. Many of his classmates don’t care that he’s treated different as they have preconceived notions of black people not being as educated as themselves.

From KKK outfits worn around him, to classmates calling him the N-word, to being shot by cops, Nic Stone gives us a familiar tale to the majority of black men and women’s lives. Whether is it flat out racism, little verbal jabs, subconscious undertones of white Americans, or the use of white privilege, the disrespect in our character, Justyce’s life plays like a true story.

Again, this is not your normal review so bear with me.

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….this is me hoping you will take a piece of the struggle black people face in America everyday. I need you to realize there is a problem in America and the only way things will get better is if we all work together.

Every now and then a book comes along that you connect with on a deep level and that’s what happen to me with Dear Martin by Nic Stone.

You see, I have a thirteen year old black son (mixed but the world only sees him as black) and as he gets older, I fear for his life more and more. I’m so scared to send him away to college in fear he may be killed by an over zealous, racist cop or white supremacist – my husband and I decided we are going to move to whatever city he chooses to go to college in. When you think about that, it’s really sad.

We are going to uproot our lives because our son has committed the worse crime in America – being a black male.

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I have never been arrested in my life yet I’ve been treated like a criminal so many times. I been handcuffed for hours, put into a paddy wagon, in the backseat of a police car, pushed face first into the concrete by a man, made to sit in the snow for over in hour in handcuffs. Why? Because I’m black. Just an FYI – paddy wagons have zero ventilation so there is limited air. Now image being placed in for for almost three hours for because I was hanging out with my friends in front of our apartment complex.

“Melo’s drunk beyond belief in the backseat of a car she fully intend to drive, yet I’m the one in handcuffs.” –Justyce

I want you to notice the difference in the way the officer treats the black kid vs. the white kid. The black kid was about five seconds away from having his head slammed into a car until his white friend intervened. If the black kid would have grabbed the cop the same way the white kid did, you can guarantee the cop would have been “justified” in his excessive force. He would have been shot and the cop would have been a hero for “defending” himself against a threat. *eye roll*

Here are a list of people I would like you to meet. . .

Eric Garner – Killed after telling the officers he couldn’t breath.

Danquirs Franklin – Killed after attempting to comply with officers request.

Sandra Bland – The police found Sandra in her cell three days after being arrested hanging from what they say was suicide. The public finds that hard to believe.

Tamir Rice – Killed by police for playing with a toy gun. My son has never been allowed to have a toy gun for this reason alone.

Jemel Robinson – Killed by police for doing his job as a bouncer in a nightclub.

Philando Castile – Killed by police while following officers instructions.

There are so many more black men who have been taking away from their family and friends long before they should have passed away. I don’t want my son to be one of them. I need him here with me. I want him to bury me, not the other way around. There’s nothing I can do except prepare him for this unfair world.

The worse part of it all is how so many people look for a way to demonize the victims in order to justify the police killing black men.

“You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be? – Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Let’s not forget about police brutality. . .

All this 15 year old kid did was hangout with his friends and attempt to pick up his phone that fell on the ground. Did he deserve this? Hell no!

The worse part of it all is how so many people look for a way to demonize the victims in order to justify the police killing black men.

So many white people don’t want to accept their white privilege, call it an illusion because they don’t have it easy. Before white people jump on that bandwagon, I want to explain to you exactly what white privilege is.

White privilege is an absence of the negative consequences of racism. An absence of structural discrimination, an absence of your race being viewed as a problem first and foremost, an absence of ‘less likely to succeed because of my race’. It is an absence of funny looks directed at you because you’re believed to be in the wrong place, an absence of cultural expectations, an absence of violence enacted on your ancestors because of the color of their skin, an absence of a lifetime of subtle marginalization and othering – exclusion from the narrative of being human. – Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

I urge every black mother to read this book and then pass it along to their black sons. Even more so for black mothers who are raising their children in predominantly white areas like myself. Side note – I pulled my son out of his predominantly white school because of the racial discrimination he was facing. He is now in a school with a wide variety of races and he’s so much happier. 

Now for the important questions. . .

Do I recommend this book? I really, really do you guys. It’s such an important story to tell.

Will I read another book by this author? Of course and I look forward to it.

Remember to follow all things messy. . .

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6 thoughts on “Dear Martin by Nic Stone

  1. D. Metzke says:

    Girl, I just finished this less than a week ago. I could not agree with you more, this book gave me all the feels. All. Of. Them. This was a great post.

    • prettygirlreading says:

      Thank you so much! I remember feeling pissed off while reading what was happening to him and that’s how I knew this was a 5 STAR book. When a book can bring such visceral emotions, you know it’s good! ☺️

    • prettygirlreading says:

      Definitely intense! I wish I would have read it sooner. It’s like you could feel the words bleeding from the pages.

  2. Nina DuBois says:

    Love your review. This is one of my favorite books. The moment when he gets shot and that damn affirmative action talk in his class had me so mad. But this is a really powerful book.

    • prettygirlreading says:

      Right! I was so heated. I had to put it down and walk away. The worst part is that we know that’s how so many people feel.

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