I loved absolutely everything about this book! Working with teens who have a similar life as Shaka Senghor, I found this book fascinating. I was so thankful for the honesty and transparency throughout the book. It really gave me a deeper insight into the lives of the kids that I work with each day.
Shaka grew up on the streets in Detroit, which s one of the toughest places to grow up. To those who are on the outside looking in, we think “why can’t you just not sell those drugs or commit that murder? Just say no!” Being desensitized to violence make it so much easier to say “yes.”
Shaka tells of his story growing up and the bad decisions he made that led him to prison, but he also shares why he did it or what influenced him to make those decisions. In some cases, he felt like he had no choice. In others, he clearly did.
Once these choices led him to prison, the reader gets a look at the American prison. He shows the reader how there is a ranking among the people in the prisons, just like we would rank people in society. I had a vague idea about this happening in prisons, but what I was surprised by was the compassion I felt for these people in prison. To be honest, my first thought when I read about this book was “You murdered someone!” However, Senghor expresses his guilt and regret in the book. In fact, he’s righting his wrongs. The title of the book is clever and exactly what the book is about.
Something else I learned from the book was how broken the criminal system has become. It was interesting to read how the criminal system was actually pushing people like him into a life of crime instead of helping him stop. Along the road, he felt like he had to take matters into his own and find redemption because he knew he wouldn’t find it in prison. Instead, his redemption came through pen and paper.
I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.