Today is a very special day because I am honoured to be apart of the Dear Martin UK blog tour.
Now if any of you know me you know how much I LOVE Dear Martin! I even think love is too small a word to explain what I feel for this book.I read this book last August in a matter of hours and even after all this time I don’t think I can put into words how amazing and important Justyce’s story is! but I don’t think it’s even just the story that makes it great it’s the way Nic Stone tells it! If you want to read what my review from last year you can check it out here!
Also since I mentioned my initial reaction to Dear Martin here are my initial tweet reactions!
I think you get the idea that I think everyone needs to read this book, so without further ado I present an Extract from Dear Martin by Nic Stone
I just got back to school after an impromptu trip to the hood. Putting all my cards on the table, I went home with the intention of just staying there forever (which is extreme, I know).
When I got there, Mama was curled up on the couch with her nose buried in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Just seeing her reading, something she worked hard to teach me to do, I knew I’d be on the bus back to school before the evening was over.
“Whatchu doin’ here, boy? It’s a school night” was the first thing she said (without looking up from the book).
“Can’t I drop in to see my dear ol’ mom when I’m missin’ her?”
“Who you callin’ old?”
That made me laugh.
“You gonna tell me what’s really going on?” She closed the book and put it to the side then.
I dropped my bag with a sigh. “Just been a rough few weeks.”
“Come on over here and sit down.”
In all honesty, I didn’t want to. Sit down is Mama-code for “spit it out,” and I woulda preferred to get my big toes shot off than talk about the stuff I was trying to escape. But Mama being Mama—and possibly psychic?—she pulled it right outta me. “This about that cop and them handcuffs?”
I dropped down beside her. “Little bit. I keep thinking about how much worse it coulda gone.”
“That non-indictment in the Carson case got you shook, huh?”
“Yeah. We had this discussion in class today, and . . . I don’t know, Ma. Everything I’m doing right now feels like a losing battle.”
She nodded. “Hard being a black man, ain’t it?”
I shrugged. “Guess that’s one way to put it. All I know is I can’t seem to find where I fit. Especially at that school.”
“It’s just like . . . I’ve been there my whole high school career, and I still feel like an outsider, you know? We were talking about the Declaration of Independence, and all I could think was how Shemar Carson was straight-up denied his ‘inalienable rights.’ It really bugged me out.”
“I did the math when I got back to my room: there were 192 years between the Declaration of Independence and the end of all that Jim Crow stuff. Now we’re over a decade into the twenty-first century, and I know from experience people like me are still getting shafted.”
Mama nodded. “Mmhmm.”
“Sittin’ there listenin’ to this rich white boy brag about breaking the law after I sat in handcuffs for no reason . . . I can’t even tell you how hard that was, Ma. It’s like no matter what I do, I can’t win.”
She crossed her arms and lifted her chin, and that’s when I knew there’d be no sympathy. “So whatchu gon’ do? Run away?”
I sighed. “I don’t know, Mama.”
“You think coming back here will solve your problem?”
“At least I’d be around people who know the struggle.”
She snorted. “Boy, you betta get your behind on up to that school.”
“Don’t ‘But, Ma’ me, Justyce.”
“I don’t fit there, though, Mama.”
“I’ve been tellin’ you since you were small that you gotta make a place for yourself in this world,” she said. “You thought I was playin’?”
I sighed again.
“You ever consider that maybe you not supposed to ‘fit’? People who make history rarely do.”
“Aww, here we go with this ‘making history’ thing again.”
“Goodbye, Justyce. I didn’t raise you to punk out when the going gets rough. Get on outta here.” She picked up her book.
“Dang, I can’t even get a hug? Somethin’ to eat?”
“You know where the kitchen is. You can get a hug on your way out.”
See what I deal with, Martin?
On the return trip, it really hit me hard: she’s right. There’s really nowhere to run. While it’s been hard processing my arrest/Castillo’s death/the Carson case/dealing with fools like Jared and them on the daily without getting discouraged, when it comes down to it, I don’t really have an alternative but to keep going, do I?
I’ll tell you the hardest thing for me today: sitting in the lounge listening to Manny agree with those fools. Granted, I could tell his heart wasn’t in it . . .
I’ll be candid with you: sometimes it really bugs me that Manny spends so much time with those guys. I know he’s known them forever, and it’s none of my business, but it’s hard to see my boy hang out with dudes who are blatantly disrespectful to our people. (Who puts a little kid in blackface?!) And then he doesn’t say anything about it? I guess it’s possible it doesn’t bother him, but to hear him agree that things are equal when he KNOWS about my incident . . . well, I’m kinda mad about that, if you want the truth.
I’ve been trying to figure out what you would’ve done if you’d been in my shoes today. I know you lived in a world where black folks were hosed and beaten and jailed and killed while fighting for equal rights, but you still managed to be, like, dignified and everything.
How did you do that, Martin? How do I do that? There are people who don’t see a man with rights when they look at me, and I’m not real sure how to deal with that. Being treated the way I was and then hearing Jared insist there’s not a problem? And then hearing Manny agree with him? It sucks, Martin. It really does.
So what do I do now? How do I handle people like Jared? Arguing obviously won’t work. . . . Do I just ignore him? But what does that solve, Martin? I want to “put my best foot forward,” as Mama would say. That’s what you did. Just gotta figure out how. . . .
Time to knock out some of this homework. Hopefully I can focus.
Thanks for hearing me out,
Dear Martin by Nic Stone is out now (Simon & Schuster, £.7.99)
Be sure to check out the other stops on the Dear Martin blog tour here: