Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a story of revenge and the consequence of revenge. At least that’s what you think it’s about. Reynolds main character Will lives by three simple rules: no crying, no snitching, and always revenge. The premise of this novel is based on a true event from Reynolds life. At 19, he had considered taking revenge himself for the murder of his best friend at the time. What he did instead was to write a book about gun violence that just might break the mold and actually change some minds. Reynolds says that he tried to write this book in a three dimensional way in order to really hit home with people. He is not trying to teach the reader a lesson. He is simply trying to make reality jump off the page. However, this is not the most surprising thing about this book. This novel is not like most novels because it’s written as poetry. Reynolds said that he knows that many communities and people struggle with literary challenges, therefore he wanted to write a book that someone could sit down and read in 45 minutes and walk away understanding the message.
Sara Horton is a founding editor of The Olive Press.