Long Division, by Kiese Laymon
Oh boy. This was a strange one. It starts out with City, a young black teenager, inadvertently becoming a YouTube sensation. He is then shipped off to his grandma’s house out in rural Mississippi to deal with the fallout. That story is intermixed with a book City is reading, called Long Division. In the book, the main character is named City too, and he and his friends time travel from 1985 to 2013 to 1964.
I had a hard time getting through this pretty short book. I wasn’t sure what to do with the time travel elements or the meta elements. There were moments that packed a punch though. And it explored a lot of issues without hitting you over the head. This quote really struck home to me:
But the Bible was better than those other spinach-colored Classic books that spent most of their time flossing with long sentences about pastures and fake sunsets and white dudes named Spencer. I didn’t hate on spinach, fake sunsets, or white dudes named Spencer, but you could just tell that whoever wrote the sentences in those books never imagined they’d be read by Grandma, Uncle Relle, LaVander Peeler, my cousins, or anyone I’d ever met.
So, I’m glad I read it, because it is outside of the books I usually read and it made me think.
Other related posts:
Finalists for the 2014 Tournament of Books
Find Kiese Laymon on the interwebs: Website