Riot

50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 26
Title: Riot
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Medium: Audiobook

I’ll be honest and say I’m surprised that it took me twenty-six books to get to a Walter Dean Myers book. I read a lot of his books growing up so I wanted to find one that I thought might be interesting and that I hadn’t read previously.

Riot tells the tale of the 1863 draft riots. A riot that lasted three days in New York City as a result of discontent over people objected to the draft instituted by Abraham Lincoln for the Civil War. It follows Claire a young bi-racial girl who lives in New York City with her father, an African American, and her mother, an Irish immigrant. Claire is light skinned enough that she easily passes for white. As the riots break out Claire has an identity crises because she feels as though the two sides of her are fighting against each other. Which, is technically true. The Irish are revolting because they believe that it is unfair to be forced to fight for the freedom of black slaves when the Irish live in poverty and are competing against blacks for jobs. Claire’s parents try to keep her out of the violence but she is determined to figure out who she is in the midst of all of the violence. Which needless to say is really annoying. It reminded me of that scene from Alex Hayley’s film Queen, where she meets up with Alice and declares herself “Little Miss In-between”.

It’s not that she’d not entitled to an identity crises, she is and I get it but for some reason her constant whining about it made me actually kind of wish she got hit with a stray bullet. Okay, not really and I think this is my old person “you kids get off my lawn” attitude talking but I wouldn’t want to be running the streets in the middle of a riot where people are being killed. But that’s just me.

Plus it’s told in an awkward screenplay format with camera angles and everything, which I think might have been okay in a book but in an audiobook it was just kind of distracting. It did give me a time in history that I don’t know a lot about and would like to read more about.

Overall Rating: 2/5 not Myer’s best but not bad.

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