Posts Tagged ‘autobiography’

In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley chronicles the story of the controversial civil rights leader, Malcolm X. In his youth, Malcolm X engaged in issues such as drugs, robberies and gambling. While spending time in prison for 5 years, Malcolm converted to the Nation of Islam, inspired by Elijah Mohammed, whom his siblings had told him about. Through spending time in jail, he changed his life by vigorously studying several subjects and completely changing his life habits. After he was released, Malcolm X worked for Elijah Mohammed to spread the Nation of Islam and later became a powerful speaker for black people’s rights.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a very rare and inspiring book. By showing the prejudice and racism Malcolm X faced since he was young, the reader understands what he advocates for more. I think that Malcolm X is a focused man with sharp perspective. His story is a remarkable one; he progressed from a “hustler” to a serious and educated person. He went through various changes in his life. While he was under the influence of Elijah Mohammed, who changed his life by introducing him to the Nation of Islam and later betrayed him, Malcolm X agreed and advocated that white people were “blue-eyed devils” and that they couldn’t help African Americans in their fight for equality. He was attacked for this, but his views changed after he visited Mecca. He came to the conclusion that problems could be overcome by brotherhood that not all whites were racist. He came to these conclusions on his own through experience. Although he may have said wrong things which he admitted to and later changed his views to the better and the wiser, the public still attacked him by calling him “reverse racist” and an extremist.

In the Autobiography, Malcolm X discusses the subtle and mixed feelings about color. He thought that his mother was specifically harsh on him because he was fair-skinned.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a very honest book. Malcolm X sparked anger and hatred because he revealed the hard truth about racism and had great faith in justice and truth:

““I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.””

He advocated for brotherhood because he understood that it was the only way to overcome racial barriers.

“I am in agreement one hundred percent with those racists who say that no government laws ever can force brotherhood”.

Malcolm X is an important figure because he reminded people that history cannot be forgotten or ignored, and reading his autobiography will increase one’s appreciation of Malcolm X and make one realize that what he preached was correctly said.


Malcolm X also said,

“I know that societies have often killed the people who have helped change these societies.”


book cover image: http://i43.tower.com/images/mm102134021/autobiography-malcolm-x-x-paperback-cover-art.jpg


watch a PBS Documentary, Malcolm X: Make it Plain


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In Marquez’s detailed 2003 memoir, Living to tell the Tale, he recounts the details of his life as a struggling writer and journalist, until the day he proposed to his wife. The book begins when the author’s mother, after several years, visits her poverty-stricken son to ask him to accompany her back to his hometown, Aracataca, to sell his grandmother’s house. She also tries to convince him to fulfill his father’s wish by going to law school and earning a degree in law. In his memoir Marquez recounts not only the people but also the writer and poets who shaped his life as an author. His dry wit was inspired by his grandfather, with whom he shared a close friendship. His novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, were based on the events of his parent’s life. Marquez blends his elements of wit from One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera into this masterful autobiography, where he explains his various struggles as a journalist against the backdrop the events in Colombia, such as the War of a Thousand Days.

Unfortunately I have read a couple of other books while reading this book, which I have finished quite some time ago, so I don’t have a fresh memory of what is inside it (that won’t happen next time).

my rating: 10/10 – a masterful book and a gem for Marquez fans

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What is the What, an autobiographical novel, tells the story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Valentino Achak Deng, who had to walk from his attacked through Ethiopia to Kenya.

The novel begins with Valentino in the United States, as he is attacked by two thugs. He starts remembering his childhood at the Sudanese village where he was born and the day militiamen started attacking his village and its people. The book then continues, between flashbacks, with Valentino narrating his journey to Ethiopia then to Kenya, where he was attacked by armies and wild animals and stricken by hunger, and also his life after he is settled in United States.

I think this is an excellent and thoughtful book, one of the best portrayals about Lost Boys in Sudan. Not only does it include the politics of Sudan in an interesting way for the reader, but it also includes a personal story. Dave Egger’s witty and cleverly humorous writing made me eager to continue reading this book.

The tone of the book is not boastful or offensive, but very creative, making the reader have sympathy for the main character.

Another important aspect in this book is portraying the Valentino’s life in the United States. Even though he is now settled, he still misses his village and is faced with myriad new challenges.

This is an enlightening book which everybody will enjoy, one that you’ll want to read more than once.

note: I haven’t gotten into detail in this review because I’ve read it almost a month ago, so I just wrote what I remember; sorry about that!

website to check out:

http://www.valentinoachakdeng.org/ (Valentino Achack Foundation)

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/books/review/Prose.t.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=what%20is%20the%20what&st=cse (What is the What New York Times book review)

http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/dave_eggers.html (Dave Egger’s website)

buy What is the What at amazon

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