Review of “Monday’s Not Coming,” by Tiffany D. Jackson
If I had to classify it, this book would not be YA. The narrator is in eighth grade, but if I had read this book in eighth grade myself, I would have been utterly destroyed. I know this because at the age of 23, I read it and was utterly destroyed. This novel’s themes include but are not limited to: social isolation, bullying, mental illness, child abuse, murder, systemic racial injustice, and diseased government – all of which assail the young children/toddlers/babies in the story.
I guess because it’s YA, I wasn’t expecting the level of intensity. I use the word “intensity” not only to describe the violence in the book, but also to describe the profound level on which Jackson connects the reader to Claudia and Monday. The girls are deftly and deeply rendered characters – all their likes/dislikes, interests, intentions, and perceptions are fully fleshed out and, as a result, attach the reader to the girls with surprising ferocity. I loved Claudia and Monday, and I still love them. Therein lies the emotionally destructive power of this novel; that affection, coupled with the violence and frustrating governmental inaction, shatters the reader’s heart.
As such, I cried like a baby throughout the entire second half of the book, reverting to an eighth-grader myself, wishing constantly that I could hand the book back to my mom and tell her, “I’m not ready for this one.” The main reason I was so emotionally destroyed by this novel is because its veneer of fiction is so thin, it is almost nonexistent. Jackson has created a D.C. drenched in loneliness and frozen blood, a D.C. seen through a tomato-and-cherry-red gel filter that, once easily removed, leaves just D.C.
Jackson, Tiffany D. Monday’s Not Coming. HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.