Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1) by Malorie Blackman
Checkmate - part 3 of Noughts and Crosses Series - Malorie Blackman. OhMyGod . Malorie Blackman is launching an online book festival for teens. Malorie Blackman had a variety of jobs before she became a full time writer and spent many years working as a Database Manager for Reuters travelling. Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts & Crosses series, Thief and most recently her science fiction.
What I really appreciated in this book is that while the concept of black and white reversed is not new, Blackman spins a unique twist in her presentation. The novel is based at the present time I safely assume as there is the internet but the atmosphere, the feeling in the book, is primitive. When we begin the book, it has been a while since the abolition of slavery so noughts are free but only barely.
They still suffer severe discrimination that which surpasses our own time's condition on racism. Noughts are only now being allowed to enter all-Cross educational institutions.
An Eye for an Eye by Malorie Blackman | LibraryThing
There are only a handful of noughts with professions worth boasting about. There are still public executions.
And the idea of a nought and a Cross being together is unthinkable. All these events have taken place but our progress has moved along much more gradually than Blackman's fictional society. Its like a really clever history lesson in the guise of a young adult novel.
Blackman tore my heart out. I related to Callum's sense of unfairness; how he wanted to do some many things but is never given the opportunity or the resources. I also related to Sephy in how she sometimes felt guilty for being a member of the elite, how she had so much when so many had so little. Contradictory, I know but we're all in the same position. We all want more than what we have but then we turn on the television and see images of death, suffering, corruption, famine.
That's why I loved the way Blackman presented her characters. We can side with both.
We root for Callum and Sephy as one. Blackman's point on the absurdity of racism is stark and jolting. By reversing the situation of black and white, where white is bad and black is good, Blackman is appealing to our psychological tendencies and unhinges the false principles we are subconsciously conducive to.
To watch a black man racially subjugate a white man is more unusual to digest than if it was the other way around. It fights against all that we know.
An Eye for an Eye
The image of a black man suffering because of his color is accepted because of what history has taught us and that in itself is heartbreaking. But every time Callum is attacked, it takes a second for us to remember he's white and they're black. And we realize how serious racism is. This is a powerful book. It has powerful writing, powerful characters and a powerful message. It is layered and things like lines and boundaries aren't always clear. Its complicated and complex with confusing emotions and that's exactly how it is in real life.
I love it when characters don't always know what to do because most of the time, no one really does. I love it when they're scared, doubtful and frustrated because it makes them real and when they emerge from their darkness, their triumph seems all the more attainable, which in turn inspires and motivates the readers and isn't that what its all really about? To make us better? When you see someone just as ordinary as you achieve something, it feels possible.
Better that than a character who is already right off the bat bad-ass and confident. I don't have a problem with overtly strong characters with strong personalities but true strength for me is when someone feels like they can't fight but fights anyway. The thing with this book is that it doesn't necessarily have to do with race at all.
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It imparts encouragement to fight for what you believe in, to be brave, to do the right thing, to be compassionate, to never judge a person before you know them, to be understanding, to be fair The names of the McGregor family were harder to come up with. I wanted names that were not unknown but were not very common either. I thought the meaning totally conjured up the character of Callum. Callie means beautiful and I believe its origins are Greek.
For me the names conjure up aspects of character and I think names are incredibly powerful. For example the story of Rumplestiltskin is a case in point. Being in a society but not of it, takes its toil in many different forms.
The sad fact is Afro-Caribbean British people are over-represented in British mental institutions. He is truly in it but not of it — but there are various ways of doing something about that. Jude, unfortunately, chooses violence. Why did you end the book the way you did? Because it had no other ending. Did you always intend to write a series of books based on Callum and Sephy?
Noughts and Crosses is a story about two friends, Callum and Sephy, and their relationship as they grow older and grow up.Malorie Blackman: Noughts and Crosses sequence
The society they live in is the back drop and of course it has an impact on their lives, but I left a lot out because it did not serve their stories. Their stories came first.
When I get an idea for a story, I tend to get the general plot in my head first, but for me, the characters make or break a story. I have to care about them to care about the plot so I spend more time on trying to get the characters right before I start writing than on anything else.