Thursday, September 10, 2020

Audiobook Review: Ghost Boys

39829647. sx318By Jewel Parker Rhodes

Read by Miles Harvey

Duration: 2 hours 52 minutes

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better. Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation thats been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her fathers actions.Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of todays world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.


My Thoughts: I've never read Jewell Parker Rhodes before despite having one of her books on my shelf for over 10 years. I've heard many great things about her writing and I especially heard many great things about Ghost Boys. So when I stumbled upon an audio book version of it through my library, I knew that I had to listen to it.

This story was heart wrenching! My heart completely went out to Jerome. There was so much emotion surrounding his death as well as the deaths behind all of the other innocent boys. Though Jerome was a fictional character, his story appeared to be based off Tamir Rice, the young boy killed by police after mistaking his toy gun for a real one. Fiction or not, this book still had impact. It discussed about the issues of young black men being murdered by white people and how these murders always receive "valid" explanations to these actions by demonizing the victim and elevating the white murderer into a hero. 

Another aspect about the book that I found powerful was the portion of Sarah, the police officer's daughter. She was able to see Jerome's ghost and because of that she was able to listen to Jerome and learn about the injustices in the United States. Even though she loved her father, she knew what he did was completely wrong and was brave enough to confront him. Her bravery and determination to educate herself in order to be a better human being was inspiring. 

This audio production was read by Miles Harvey. He brought to life Jerome's story by capturing the latter's voice perfectly. Miles delivered it with great rhythm by knowing how to emphasize the author's writing style and stressing the focus to Jerome's unanswered questions. He exhibited a range of emotions that captured the tone of the story. Miles Harvey was a fantastic narrator.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book. For being a middle grade book, this book raised important issues without glossing over the facts. I highly recommend reading this. I rate it: 

1 comment:

  1. This is probably my favorite of all of her books, though Towers Falling was so good also. I cried so much reading this one, but it is powerful and important. All these young boys lost senselessly, and so many we will never know the names of.