Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Endangered is a novel by Jean Love Cush that will make you think.  Malik is a 15 year old black boy in Philadelphia when he is arrested for murder.  As, his friends ran, he did what his mother had told him to do and put his hands up and did not resist.  Of course, the police officers claimed he did after they slammed him into the ground and made him bleed.  By a stroke of luck, Malik is taken to the juvenile detention center for processing instead of immediately going through the adult legal system.  Because in Philly, it doesn't matter how old you are, murder one means you are tried as an adult.

Another lucky break for Malik occurs when the Center for the Protection of Human Rights takes over his case and wants to use Malik as the figurehead in their plight to overturn the criminal justice system, since his mother, Janae can barely afford to feed and house them, forget about paying for a decent lawyer!

"Okay, okay.  I believe we can make a solid argument that African-American boys ought to be deemed legally endangered.  Their very lives are threatened with extinction or at least any meaningful existence, and thereby ought to be afforded certain protections base on their classification as such."

This book definitely highlights the awfulness of human nature and brings up some very interesting questions about how our justice system works and how black males are treated within that system.  It was a very interesting story that brings up some interesting thoughts.

"If we were anywhere else but the United States of America, I might agree with you," Robert countered.  "But here, in this country, prison and race are inextricably tied together.  How else can blacks make up less than thirteen percent of the entire population but account for forty percent of prisoners? And when you look at juvenile defendants like my client, nearly fifty percent of all juveniles waived to adult court are black.  The question we have to ask ourselves is, "Why is this happening? Judge, do you think they are really more culpable because they are black? Do they deserve harsher sentences because they are black? Should their lives be destroyed because they are not he right color?"

I will say there were a few jumps that bugged me and the character of Janae sometimes sounded like an uneducated woman from the ghetto and other times she was using some very educated words and thinking in ways that didn't vibe with how she was initially portrayed. And not to say that people don't change, it just didn't really bode with what you'd come to expect from her character.  I'd say there were some kinks, but the story is thought provoking!

What book last made you question certain practices or beliefs? Do you think the juvenile legal system should focus on rehabilitation or should teenagers move up to the adult legal system?

I personally feel that the juvenile system should focus on rehabilitation and that teenagers are incapable of adult reasoning to be held accountable the same way an adult can.  Their reasoning isn't even matured until mid-20s! There is so much more that needs to be done on the matter but ruining their ENTIRE life at 12 or 15 isn't the answer!

I received this book from TLC Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Jean Love Cush's Website

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