Anger is a Gift

Synopsis – goodreads

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

There are some books that I pick up with aware that I’ll both love and hate it. I’ll love the fact that the story exists in the world so others can be made aware of some of the truths that are present in today’s society. But that I’ll also hate the fact that although it is marketed as fiction, it is sadly far from it. 

Anger is a Gift is definitely one of those books. 

Anger is a Gift is a story with a variety of themes; Diversity, Inclusion, Love, Hate, Anger, Fear and the list goes on. These themes are then applied to social issues such as gentrification, police brutality and you guessed it blatant racism.

Moss Jeffries is no stranger to tragedy, having lost his father to police brutality six years ago. We follow his journey as the after-effects of Morris Jeffries Sr.’s death plague his everyday life. From the start of the story, we are drawn into a world where social inequality not only exists but is somehow become the norm. The city of Oakland is constantly at odds with the surrounding Bay Area. Moss and some of his friends attend a public school with no regard for their student’s future academic career or safety. But instead hires a clearly biased and prejudice security officer who performs wrongful locker searches. Tension between the student body and the security officer rises. And the school’s response to the officer’s mistreatment of a student is to install dangerous metal detectors that are more for the protection of a clear and open bias than the safety of the students who attend. 

“Anger is a gift. Remember that.” She stood. “You gotta grasp onto it, hold it tight and use it as ammunition. You use that anger to get things done instead of just stewing in it.” 

Mark Oshiro, Anger is a Gift

Oshiro created a story that casts a net over all the different inequalities existing in our society. The plot and sub-plots were well crafted, the characters were well thought out and the writing style was reminiscent of Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. The pace unfortunately plateaued at certain parts. Fortunately, however, the majority of the book had more of a steady pace, even during action-packed scenes. And that ending, might be one of my favorite endings of 2019.

I definitely recommend reading this book.


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