That’s right, I fell 24 pages short of finishing “A Life of Reinvention: Malcolm X.” Oops. But I’m still ready to discuss. Did anyone (besides Jameil) hang in and finish on time? Okay, let’s go:
1. I was shocked – yep shocked – at Marable’s dislike of Malcolm X. The strong dislike he had for his subject was almost palpable. Snide comments, unproven tidbits thrown in, and condescension ran rampant through this book. Let me state – I don’t really have any heroes. I’m not a worshiper of people. So I didn’t hold Malcolm X in some sort of god-like view before reading this book, nor do I now. But I get the feeling that Marable wrote this book with a strong determination to discredit Malcolm X and the work for which he is known.
2. I learned quite a bit about the Nation of Islam. Who knew? I always thought that the Nation of Islam were “just” black Muslims. I didn’t realize that this Fard fellow started the NOI and then transferred leadership to Elijah (Poole) Muhammad before he disappeared. Do what? And that whole Yacub’s History? I don’t know how I missed all of this.
3. It’s been ages since I read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” and I now want to read it again – and soon – so that I can note the differences between what Marable wrote and what Malcolm X told Alex Haley.
4. This book provided a wonderful synopsis of how and why Malcolm X split from the NOI and became a “true” Muslim. As a pretty peaceable person, I was surprised at how much anger and hatred Malcolm’s former friends and associates displayed when he left the NOI.
5. I feel like Marable just thew “controversial” tidbits in the book and then just quickly moved on without ever proving his allegations. I’m referring to Malcolm’s homosexual experience, his affair with the Parisian woman (name escapes me), his relationship with Sharon 6X, and Betty’s affair with Charles 37X Kenyatta. What was written about these incidents was not enough to convince me that they actually occurred.
6. What this book did for me was make me more curious about the life of Malcolm X. I was hoping for insight into his personal life, and don’t feel as though this book gave me that. I suppose that Mr. X was so very private and reserved that we’ll never really “know” him the way we may feel we know other historical figures.
Anyhoo, those are some of my thoughts…what did you think of the book? Were you surprised by anything you read? Has your interest in Malcolm X been piqued?
Comment away. I’ll be back periodically with my two cents!