by Gary Younge
Why did you choose this book? I wanted to read some nonfiction
When did you read this book? March 2018
Who should read this book? Readers who enjoy books on dysfunctional families and books that make you think.
My Rating: ✰✰✰✰½ 4½ Stars
Here is a synopsis of Another Day In The Death Of America from Goodreads
On an average day in America, seven young people aged nineteen or under will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning Guardian journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during the course of a single day in the United States. It could have been any day, but Younge has chosen November 23, 2013. From Jaiden Dixon (9), shot point-blank by his mother’s ex-boyfriend on his doorstep in Ohio, to Pedro Dado Cortez (16), shot by an enemy gang on a street corner in California, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the powerful human stories behind the statistics.
Far from a dry account of gun policy in the United States or a polemic about the dangers of gun violence, the book is a gripping chronicle of an ordinary but deadly day in American life, and a series of character portraits of young people taken from us far too soon and those they left behind. Whether it’s a father’s unspeakable grief over his son who was at the wrong place at the wrong time, a mentor who tries to channel his rage by organizing, or a friend and neighbor who finds strength in faith, the lives lost on that day and the lives left behind become, in Younge’s hands, impossible to ignore, or to forget. What emerges in these pages is a searing portrait of youth, family, and the way that lives can be shattered in an instant on any day in America.
At a time when it has become indisputable that Americans need to rethink their position on guns, this moving narrative work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the "collateral damage" of gun deaths across the country. In his journalism, Younge is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and looking twice where others might look away. There are some things, he argues, that we have come to see as normal, even when they are unacceptable. And gun violence is one of them. A clear-eyed and iconoclastic approach to this contentious issue, this book helps answer the questions so many of us are grappling with, and makes it even harder to just look away.
I’m not even sure what to say about this book...wow! This is a thought-provoking book. The author chose a random day, then traced all the deaths of children who died that day as a result of a gun. As the author says in his introduction, this “is not a book about gun control; it is a book made possible by the lack of gun control.”
Though the subject was not easy to read about, it was hard for me to put this book down. One thing that made it interesting was that the perspective of the author was as a black man from England coming from gun-free culture to the gun culture of the U.S. You can feel his initial bewilderment at the ready availability of guns.
I also thought he made an interesting observation about our tendency to feel a shooting death is more tragic when a child is a well-behaved, good student who is always where he should be, thus implying that perhaps a student of lesser abilities who occasionally misbehaves and hangs out in the wrong place somehow ‘deserves’ his fate. As I mentioned, the book is thought-provoking.
This is a well-researched book. For each of the ten boys who died that day, the author not only relates the circumstances of the death, but attempts to go beyond the death, interviewing friends and family to flesh out his story. I really felt like I got to know most of these kids, and some of the stories have stayed with me, even almost a month after I’ve finished the book. The author hasn’t really offered me any solutions, but he did give me a lot to think about!