Monday, July 8, 2013


Mosley, Walter. 47. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2005. Print.
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My Thoughts
This is another book that has been on my shelf for a few years. I received this as an ARC (advanced reading copy). The book is classified for ages 12+ and Mosley's "first book for young adults" (back cover).

As I started reading, I thought, "what in the world is this?" so I looked at the back cover. The publisher states that this book "weaves historical and speculative fiction into a powerful narrative about the nature of freedom" (back cover). Ok. Historical fiction I like. Speculative fiction? I'm not too sure. So I decided that I would have to read with an open mind.

This is the story of a slave named 47. (It is explained why he is named for a number.) He meets Tall John who has traveled thousands of years to find him. Tall John is mysterious and feeds 47's mind with possibilities. "It is only the mind that you truly own" Tall John says (Mosley 69). Tall John has many mantras that he shares with 47, the most often repeated is "neither master nor nigger be" and he explains that "when you say master and when you say nigger you are making yourself his dog and his slave" (Mosley 56). Once 47 realizes what this mantra fully means, he feels the "thrill of freedom" in his heart (Mosley 146).

At Chapter 13, I realized the drawing at the beginning of each chapter changed. The drawings depict the connections between the characters in the book with Elle, Tall John's home planet.

There are aspects of slavery discussed in this book as well as timeless adages like "sometimes we have to make hard choices" (Mosley 177). Some of the slavery scenes are quite graphic and uncomfortable to read.  There is a zombie scene that actually fit in a weird way. The idea of freedom and what that means is explored. I caught myself marking the timeless advice that Tall John gives and those revelations 47 has. "All John had to do was give her [Tweenie] a few nice words and she changed from a sullen bully into a woman filled with hope" (Mosley 164).

Overall, the story was ok. I just had a hard time with the unrealistic nature of it. I think I'll have to read more speculative fiction to make a determination if this story was good or not. I did try to read with an open mind, but I kept finding myself doubting the narrative.

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