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J Neeairah Nasir
J Neeairah Nasir
I cannot wait to finish this book! What an innovative approach to such a prevalent problem in our society. Policing... is not an excuse to exact force against the citizens of the world, and we have seen incidents of police brutality escalate, become irrefutably obvious-- and still, it largely goes unpunished. I only wish police departments across the nation would find a way to implement a program similar to this; perhaps it would make officers of the law think twice before deciding to become judge, jury, and executioner over the people and see all citizens as human beings, regardless of their race. Well done!read more

Review of Decennial

Post by Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha » 

[Following is an official review of “Decennial” by Max Fortune.]

 by Max Fortune is a fictional story based on historical events that led to the widespread Black Lives Matter riots in 2020. The author dedicates the book to “…George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Daunte Wright, Freddie Gray, Rayshard Brooks, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Ahmaud Arbery, Janisha Fonville, Jacob Blake, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Aura Rosser, Akai Gurley, Michelle Cusseaux, Oscar Grant, Andre Hill, and the other countless Black men and women who have senselessly lost their lives because someone saw the color of their skin; and determined instantly whether they were good or bad, friendly or foe, right or wrong.”

The book begins with a captivating description of the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray in 2015 in America. He gives rich descriptions of the scenes and events in which excessive force was used and led to injury and sometimes death of the victims. The fact that the author retains the real names of some of these victims can give readers the impression that the genre of this book is non-fiction until they read further. Ten of the officers indicted for aggravated assault are offered slots in an experimental virtual simulation program aimed at making them ‘live’ the lives of the black people that they attacked on the streets. The book gets its title from the name of the program which is aimed at identifying and reversing racial prejudices and biases. The officers are offered freedom from serving their jail terms if they show progress during these novel psychotherapy sessions. The officers are reluctant participants – angry, skeptical, and uncooperative. Their response and growth during this exercise make a riveting read.

Decennial was an enjoyable and enlightening read for me. The author does a great job of chronicling the events that preceded the Black Lives Matter riots, the protests, and the reaction of the American police to black protesters. The plot is intriguing and character-driven with several twists and turns that kept me guessing. I was not sure which of the officers would benefit from the program and who would not. As they faced their varied challenges and trials, I found myself rooting for them. The writing was excellent with naturally flowing dialogue.

I recommend this book for adults because of the seriousness of the themes explored (assault, racism, injustice) and the use of some profanity. It could have benefited from one more round of professional editing to remove the few typographical errors I discovered. There was nothing I disliked about the book.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because it was a captivating read. It brought a unique fictional solution to the problem of racial profiling and prejudices which exist within the American police. Even though this system cannot be used in real life, it suggests that if we look inwards deeply enough and put ourselves in the position of others who are victims of racial prejudices, we may understand their feelings and responses to situations.”