Noughts & Crosses by Malorie BlackmanRead about another entry on the list.
“I used to comfort myself with the belief that it was only certain individuals and their peculiar notions that spoilt things for the rest of us. But how many individuals does it take before it’s not the individuals who are prejudiced but society itself?”
So writes Malorie Blackman in Noughts & Crosses (Doubleday Children’s). Recent months have been almost dystopian, revealing a neglected, divided kingdom along lines of wealth, geography and generation. Political and financial elites are watching their holiday homes (if not their principal residences) burning down with far greater cost to their poorer neighbours. The fire-starters have no plan for reconstruction and our media has not served us well. “The news lies all the time. They tell us what they think we would want to hear.”
Blackman is one of our greatest contemporary British writers and her modern classic is capable of inspiring many more generations of “young adult” readers of all ages. Dystopian fiction has often provided the most searing critiques of “real” life, politics and society, and the first book in Blackman’s epic series is no exception.
While it is an unashamedly political novel, its message of hope comes from the central love story between two characters on opposite sides of the racial divide. The secret to Blackman’s book, and our collective futures, perhaps lies in remembering the value of sacrifice and solidarity.