BOOK: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
“Never let your obstacles become more important than your goal.”
Fall is in full swing around here, which for me means cozy clothing and good books to read while snuggling up on the couch. Today I am bringing you another true story—I can read nonfiction you guys! The 57 Bus is about a 2013 incident on a bus in Oakland, California, wherein two very different lives are drastically changed. Gender-nonconforming Sasha (preferred pronoun: they) is asleep on the 57 bus—her regular way home after school—when Richard, encouraged by his friends, uses a lighter to singe Sasha’s skirt just enough to brown the fabric. When Sasha’s body ends up engulfed in flames, it’s a tragedy neither they nor Richard wanted. The book follows Sasha through their eventual recovery and Richard as a young, smart, well-behaved black boy who made a mistake and is now tangled in the the American “justice” system. The 57 Bus is not your average crime and punishment saga, but rather a true-crime story that will teach you a thing or two about empathy and forgiveness.
Before reading this book, I had never heard of this crime event that happened just a few years ago. While reading, I not only learned about the events of that life-altering bus ride, but I also learned a lot about the diversity of the Bay Area and even more about gender, sex, and sexuality, and the challenges faced by people who don’t fit perfectly into what society deems to be “normal.” This story is a powerful tale of restorative justice and a much-needed reminder of the need for us all to get to know one another before passing judgments. [[RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars]] It’s a quick read that will definitely teach you a lot. Worth the read if you like true-crime stories. Also this excerpt from Sasha’s tumblr is my life: “Do you ever just get rly tired when u have a lot of shit to do and u just start crying for no reason?” Yes, Sasha, I do.
Happy Reading! xo, Amy