Long Way Down
Jasons Reynold's Long Way Down is a powerhouse that is not to be missed. Will Holloman's big brother Shawn is shot down in the street not far from his home and fifteen year old Will is pretty sure he knows who is to blame for his brother's murder. Following Will through the night of the murder, and into the next day as Will struggles with what he must do.
But of course, Will, like everyone else where he lives knows exactly what he must do, because when someone you care about is killed there are three rules. No. 1 No Crying, ever. No 2. No Snitching, no matter what. No. 3 Get Revenge. Will knows the rules, and he's ready with his brother's hidden gun tucked into his back waistband, he steps onto the elevator and that's where this story really begins.
In 306 pages, that can be read in under an hour, and carried in the heart for a lifetime, Jason Reynolds tells a familiar tale of street violence in a incredibly unexpected way. Told as narrative poetry, each page is spare of words, with a cadence perfect for the shocked, and horrified, but still somewhat numb thoughts that run through Will's mind as he watches his older brother gunned down in the street and then contemplates his options that evening and the next day. Fragmented, and circular, Will's brain is filled wtih anagrams and random thoughts that fight for space with memories, and rage and a furious need for justice.
The publisher marks this book for ages 12 and up, but I think you have to consider your own child.
The subject matter of course is gun violence and revenge. There is some language, but honestly not much, considering the story Reynolds is telling.
This is a book that demands a conversation. About race and racism, the endless loop of violence and machismo and the nature of grief and greiving.
Published 2017 by Anthaneum Books 306 pp.