Top positive review
A punch in the gut
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 30, 2018
Only a few books out of the thousands I’ve read impacted me more than MONDAY’S NOT COMING. The irony is that I almost didn’t buy it because it seemed to be directed toward younger readers. Do not make my faulty assumption, which was based on the age of the protagonists.
Claudia, a fourteen-year-old African American girl, begins the book by saying, “This is the story of how my best friend disappeared.” Monday Charles has been like a sister to Claudia, and when she doesn’t arrive at school the first day, Claudia knows something is wrong. Days pass with no sign of Monday, and Claudia is becoming frantic.
Claudia and Monday live in subsidized housing in Washington, DC. Both are poor, but Monday is poorer. Claudia comes from a stable, loving family; Monday’s family has problems. She is like a surrogate daughter to Claudia’s parents. Claudia and Monday are inseparable, although Claudia spent the summer with her grandmother in Atlanta.
When Claudia questions Monday’s family, she can’t get a straight answer. Monday’s neighborhood is known to be dangerous, and she can’t get help there either. She expresses her concern to her teachers and guidance counselor, but almost everyone assures her that Monday is fine. One special teacher reports Monday’s absence to social services and is given the runaround. Monday’s mother tells all questioners that her daughter is with her father; Monday’s sister says, “Her aunt.” And those stories change.
The tension builds as time passes with no sign of Monday. Claudia and her family report Monday’s disappearance to the police, and again are told not to worry “because teenage girls often run away.” With the exception of Claudia’s family, nobody understands the bond between the two girls. Monday would never have run away without telling Claudia.
This book addresses racism, prejudice, gentrification, social services and the criminal justice system when applied to the disadvantaged living in Section 8 housing. Just imagine if Monday were named Sloan, lived on Park Avenue and attended prep school in Manhattan. Would everyone in authority do nothing if “Sloan” insisted that her lifelong best friend had disappeared? I see “Breaking News” banners flashing, and an Amber Alert issued.
Tiffany Jackson did everything right when she wrote MONDAY’S NOT COMING. The Quentin Tarantino-esque timeline is brilliant, especially so when I reached the end. I was caught completely offguard as I reached the last page, but what a logical conclusion the book reached. And who couldn’t fall in love with Claudia and Monday? Anyone with a best friend understands that bond, and I would be lucky to have a persistent friend like Claudia. She never gives up. It is obvious to me that Tiffany Jackson poured her heart into this book; she certainly grabbed mine.