Anne Bonny #Poetry #Review A collection by @DeanAtta 5* @SaqiBooks ‘Powerful, honest, raw and inspirational’

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I Am Nobody’s Nigger by Dean Atta
Review copy
Synopsis:

Revolutionary, reflective and romantic, I Am Nobody’s Nigger is the powerful debut collection by one of the UK’s finest emerging poets. Exploring race, identity and sexuality, Dean Atta shares his perspective on family, friendship, relationships and London life, from riots to one-night stands. Longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2014’Go Dean Atta. Speak the truth. Tweet the truth. Upload it. Let it ring out over the digital domain and strike at the heart of the offline wireless and disconnected.’ Lemn Sissay ‘Dean Atta’s poetry is as honest as truth itself. He follows no trend; he seeks no favours … Beyond black, beyond white, beyond straight, beyond gay, so I say. Love your eyes over these words of truth. You will be uplifted.’ Benjamin Zephaniah ‘Righteous and forceful’ Peter Tatchell’I can do nothing but take my hat off to Dean Atta for speaking out, saying what he believed, and doing it so effectively and powerfully that countless people heard it who would never normally have done so. Poetry is a powerful tool, and I Am Nobody’s Nigger is a perfect example of when that tool shows its full strength.’ Huffington Post’ Huffington Post ‘Raconteur Dean Atta doing what he does best; articulating London’s dark, deep-rooted social cancers through a beautiful and intricately personal narrative.’ Clash

My Review:

Powerful, honest, raw and inspirational. Just a few of the words I would use to summarise the poetry of Dean Atta.

Dean Atta moves around various social and political issues within his various poems. From the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the usage of racial terminology. To the plight of fatherless children or homeless people. He clearly is a very deep and thoughtful poet.

“Please listen when I speak
How many homeless you seen this week?”

There is a poem titled ‘Young, Black And Gay’ where Dean Atta makes it abundantly clear he is not going to apologise for who he is. This is a quality I absolutely love in an author. It was one of the qualities I admired in Paul Beatty’s Manbooker winning novel The Sellout. Dean Atta has a talented mind!

In the poem Fatherless Nation, he addresses the issue of abandoned children and how it in-turn effects the next generation to come.
With the poem Therapy, it is almost as if he is speaking to you, through the pages.

“I can speak against injustice
from a stage or on a page
I’m a poet not a politician
But I canvas for your vote
With these words I wrote”

Each new poem, has a new theme. His opinion on the London riots in Smash And Grab, questions the motives behind the behaviour, what we all saw unfold.

“it’s no wonder no one looted the libraries”

I had several favourites from the collection. Key To The City is emotional and brutally honest. Rome is Eternal, speaks of love and personal connections.
Fragmented, is just pure perfection.

“I send envelopes of hope
addressed to our tomorrow”

A deep-thinking poet, with an intelligent mind and open eyes. I’d love to buy him a cup of coffee and listen to his spoken word performances.
If Dean Atta was a politician, he’d get my vote 5*

DA
Dean Atta
Website – Don’t miss the video links of Dean’s spoken word.
Twitter
YouTube
Saqi Books

 

My #Review of, Long Way Down by @JasonReynolds83 Illustrations by @crispriestley @FaberBooks 5* by @annebonnybook #YA #NewRelease

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Lone Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Illustrations by Chris Priestley

Synopsis:
AND THEN THERE WERE SHOTS
Everybody
ran,
ducked,
hid, tucked
themselves tight.

Pressed our lips to the
pavement and prayed
the boom, followed by
the buzz of a bullet,
didn’t meet us.

After Will’s brother is shot in a gang crime, he knows the next steps. Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So he gets in the lift with Shawn’s gun, determined to follow The Rules. Only when the lift door opens, Buck walks in, Will’s friend who died years ago. And Dani, who was shot years before that. As more people from his past arrive, Will has to ask himself if he really knows what he’s doing.

This haunting, lyrical, powerful verse novel will blow you away.

My Review:

Wow! Where to begin with this novel? I read this in just an hour. The author has developed his own style of writing and this I absolutely LOVED. I have a great respect for author’s who choose to write in their own unique style and make zero apologies for it! So straight away, that was a ‘Go Jason!’ from me!

The novel is YA, I am 34 years old! My days of being a YA are long behind me. But I firmly believe YA is for everyone! Therefore, I have continued to support YA novels on my blog as often as I can. The novel also has illustrations within it’s pages. They are amazing, accurate to the emotions and themes and I only wish I owned a physical copy now!
The illustrator Chris Priestley has done a phenomenal job!

The novel opens with William Holloman (Will to his friends). In the aftermath of his brother Shawn’s shooting. Will is 15 years old, his brother just four years older. I immediately started asking myself, Why did this young life, have to end so soon? As Will describes his pain and grief at the loss of his brother. You begin to realise the pain of bereavement is deeply painful for everyone, regardless of age. It just resonates with each individual differently. In that split second, Will knows what he must do………….

“If the blood inside you is on the inside of someone else, you never want to see it on the outside of them” – Will

Will talks us through the local neighbourhood people. What happens when a crime like this takes place and most importantly of all the rules!
The rules: No crying, no snitching and revenge!
As a mother, reading Will’s words, I really began to worry for his future and where the path of vengeance would take him.

“Gun shots make everybody deaf and blind especially when they make somebody dead”

“If someone you love gets killed, find the person who killed them and kill them”

The novel briefly describes Will and Shawn’s mother’s pain. Her worries that Shawn stay out of jail, not get his girlfriend pregnant and not die!
We also hear Will describe his relationship with Shawn. His favourite brother, his only brother. It is with that in mind, he grabs Shawn’s gun and decides to get revenge.

What happens once Will enters the elevator, is the true beauty of this novel. He will be met with a variety of characters, all known personally to him.
Well at least until they died…..
They offer their words of wisdom, each taking a turn to show Will the consequences, his future actions could have!

“Might as well relax, it’s a long way down” – Buck

The writing is poetic and beautiful. I had so many quotes written in my reading journal. Jason Reynolds has proven, without a shadow of a doubt, He is a master wordsmith!
The novel depicts the cycle of violence and gang culture.
But in a way, I have NEVER read before.
I can see the huge appeal to YA readers, as the novel really is written to them. But the novel still manages to be unique and moving to the older adult reader also. Which cannot, be an easy writing endeavour.
A HUGE 5* from me!

JR
Jason Reynolds
Authors links:
Website: http://www.jasonwritesbooks.com/
Twitter: @Jasonreynolds83