I would like to thank the authors of this book for a free digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Black, Grey and White is a book from two authors, who have touched different (often painful) subjects in the modern society in other books already and it reminds that we might think of ourselves as modern, but sometimes there are borders we are too afraid to step over and we don’t even notice conservative parts of our perception.
The book is a story compilation – there are four stories about HIV/AIDS victims, how they live their lives, what are their choices and how other people accept them as a part of society. It is not only about the people who suffer from HIV, but also about the people who have been touched by it in many ways, showing the problems and lack of knowledge in the field.
Fifth story is not related to the topic and seems like a part from a different book, it is a modern version of the book of Genesis and relationship between Lucifer, Cain, Abel and their parents.
The author contacted me about this book and I decided to agree to read it for two reasons – one – I had almost forgotten about the existence of HIV. It is a huge problem and still, while it doesn’t touch us directly, we forget about it (and it being a problem) so easily. And the second reason was that I felt like this book could enrich me culturally, because I am not really familiar with Indian culture.
Honestly when I started to read it, I was disappointed because the most of the stories were written as plays and I hate that, I have always disliked it, when I had to read in school and I dislike it still. Even so, the writing wasn’t very good, there were mistakes and repetitive retelling of the same thing with the same words.
And that said, there was another problem, which was – no retelling when needed. Quite a few times, there were just a beginning of a sentence and three dots. Were they saving paper? Here’s an example…
It is like saying once: “I really like sunny weather and that’s why summer is my favourite season!” And then twenty times, when you need to mention this fact, you just write: “I really like sunny…” Of course people understand what you are saying, because they read it the first time, but do they like it? No.
Honestly writing was my only issue with the book. The stories itself were predictable, but it was predictable in such way that it didn’t bother me, because there was always a little mystery added to it, which untwisted at the end of the story.
And then I had one more reason to be interested in this story compilation…
I have obtained an education in education (cool sentence building!) and one of the subjects I am allowed to teach is health education (I know that in many countries there’s no such subject, which is a shame). I really think that excerpts of these stories or even whole of them (if the writing would be edited) could be used in book or in classes because this topic in one teachers have to touch and this book just shows different aspects of the problems that are bound to HIV for years. While reading, I could think of plenty of exercises for children before reading the stories and after, just to see, what is their natural attitude and to support it or try to show other perspectives of it.
I was slightly bothered though in seeing such an ignorant attitude from the sufferers in some of the stories, as well as their decisions. And I guess it is a correct statement by the authors that some will treasure other lives, but some will want to revenge injustice, but some will just be foolish.
But the last story was not about the illness, it was like a modern Bible retelling, I guess. And I really liked it. I think it was the longest story in the book. I am not familiar with the book of Genesis (honestly I have read it, but I just don’t remember it, um… sorry, Bible?), but knowing just the main event in it, helped me to expect something similar in this one and I kind of saw, how easy it is to entice people and ensure them that what they want is the right thing. The story did not touch the responsibility from the parent side (about the upbringing of the brothers and their love and attitude to each of them), which is a bummer hence that was a part of a reason for his hatred for Abel. I liked how they parents were portrayed pretty opposite and was slightly sad that their unequal love for the boys was not found as a reason for Cain’s doings or Cain’s doings were not perceived as God’s punishment for the unequal love (or perhaps they were and that’s why the celebration took place).
Anyway, I really enjoyed this story although I usually am not a fan of Biblical stuff.
This book gave me a really hard time, I really think that, if the writing would have been better, I would have really liked this book, which makes it hard to recommend it to a group of people. I guess those interested in issue and in equality and equal rights would enjoy it (is that the right word? It seems wrong) and as I mentioned before – teachers, who build the ground for our attitude. But it was a hard read (hence the writing issue) and that’s why it received two stars out of five on my goodreads page.