Home Books Dear Martin Review

Dear Martin Review

by Charles Trapunski
3.5 out of 5 stars

Certainly an important book, I’m not sure that Dear Martin is an essential read. This may be because of the style, which eventually settles, but it takes about a quarter of the book to do so. In a short book, this transition becomes even more magnified, but it’s not a deal breaker. It was just a little unfamiliar for me to find a switch between the narrative and the main character of Justyce writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King (hence the Dear Martin of the title). The storytelling is presented in perhaps a different narrative style to what I am used to reading, and this, coupled with the font (yes, the font) being difficult to read at first, I almost quit on the book.

However, it’s profound and powerful, especially for a Young Adult novel that rarely deals with subject matter in this detail. In fact, the primary story of a Yale-bound student and the contempory reality that an African-American teenager faces, which is certainly not a pleasant one. There are a couple of significant incidents that affect the pacing and to give either of them away (one is listed on the book jacket, which even feels like a spoiler), would be to undermine the accomplishment of Stone, a debut author, and what she is able to accomplish through the telling of the story, capturing voices of young people, and a male first person protagonist and a sense of injustice that is present in the life of Justyce. The ending comes together quite well, (which I thought would be impossible given the high stakes), and reflects not a hopeful or hopeless message, but one somewhere in the middle, (though definitely trending downwards). In short, it is a gut-punch of a novel.

 

 

Dear Martin was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.

You may also like