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  • Writer's pictureTheLittLibrarian

One of the Good Ones - Review

*I received this e-arc copy from Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*

"When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered.
Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there's a twist to Kezi's story that no one could've ever expected—one that will change everything all over again."

Due to recent events, I try not engrossing myself with too much of the black plight or empowering media about black people because I'm tired, honestly. I'm tired of hearing about it, I'm tired of seeing it, and I'm tired of receiving secondhand experience from it. I'll get angry and worked up with no avenue to release my frustrations, so I try to avoid the brunt of it as much as I can. But after reading One of the Good Ones by Maika and Maritza Moulite, it left me in a state of calm that was surprisingly refreshing.

I hope never to experience losing a friend or a family member to police brutality. One of the Good Ones is as close to that feeling I ever want to get. For this to be fictitious, the Moulite sisters did an excellent job conveying the emotion of experiencing just that. I don't think grieving involves being sad all the time. Sometimes people want to escape for a little while. While some people would find Kezi's little sister selfish, I understand that Happi wants things to be different. Happi wishes she can change how she treated her family before the fatal event, and she struggles to work out her feelings and emotions after Kezi's death. Between switching points of view from Kezi and Happi, we see how the family dynamic plays out before and after the demise.

One part of the story I'm kind of confused about is the actions of Ximena, Kezi's girlfriend. I would assume Ximena's resolve would also mirror black people regarding injustice in America, yet she carries on like she's an outsider. She's physically there fighting the fight, yet her actions scream she's a little bit above whatever negative happens to black people. Like her face can't be plastered on construction paper with RIP above her name. We see it with how she handles situations her group faced:

  • Screaming at the police.

  • Not knowing how to conduct herself during a routine search.

  • Not showing a calm demeanor to appear less threatening.

It's the small, subtle things ingrained in us, but it seems she has no clue about survival skills.

My correlation with Ximena doesn't imply with just the book either. Personally, I feel people of color all share the black man's problems in the world, yet, somehow, they're still separated from the same issues we've been fighting for generations. I don't understand how a Latinx girl from California doesn't have the same teachings as her fellow black neighbor, especially when she is a descendent of someone who had to flee Cuba during the Cuban Revolution. Ximena's whole aura baffles me.

With the build-up from the entire novel being so grand, I was disappointed in the anticlimactic ending. I was expecting raw emotion and an updated point of view from each narrator. What I got was an incomplete scenario that left me wondering what happened after? The last remaining questions will never be answered, which will bug me for the rest of my life.

Overall, this was a good read. It is "one of the good ones." Yes, I know it's corny, but I couldn't help it. I never imagined the Moultrie sisters could add an element of surprise in a story initially meant to highlight Black American problems in the country. That plot twist alone changed my expectations of this book. It took me by surprise, and I think it will do the same for you.

One of the Good Ones is available on January 5, 2021.

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