MONDAY’S NOT COMING by TIFFANY D. JACKSON
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson is a ripped-from-the-headlines story about the bonds of friendship, the relationship between marginalized communities and the police, and how far people will go to cover up a crime. Monday isn’t a story for the faint of heart and is often difficult to read, not just because of its subject matter, but because of how confusing it can get.
The titular Monday in this novel is Monday Charles, best friend of Claudia, our main character. The book follows the two girls in chapters called “The Before” and “Before the Before.” I’ll only confuse you if I try to explain what both of those things mean, so let’s just say the “Before” section takes place prior to the main events of the book while “The After” chapters chronicle the “current” timeline of the book, when Claudia is sixteen and Monday has been missing for three years. It’s very confusing and easy to misunderstand, and if I had one big criticism of this book, that would be it.
Nevertheless, Monday follows Claudia and Monday through their pre-teen years in the Washington DC area. Claudia has a loving family and a nice roof over her head, while Monday lives in government-funded housing with her overbearing mother, her younger brother, and her older sister. Claudia and Monday are inseparable despite their economic differences and rely on each other for everything. Monday is smart and outgoing while Claudia is more reserved. She also has dyslexia, and her struggles with it are well-documented throughout the book, which I appreciated.
However, something strange happens on Monday and Claudia’s first day of eighth grade: Monday doesn’t show up, and she doesn’t show up for months. Nobody bothers to look for her except for Claudia, and no one seems to care if she’s missing. It should be noted that both Claudia and Monday are young black girls, and the fact that Monday’s disappearance doesn’t concern anybody speaks to the real-life events that happened in DC just a couple of years ago. The outrage over these missing girls was inaccurate in some aspects, but the overall idea of white apathy in the face of missing black girls is very real. This is what Monday’s Not Coming explores, and the results are devastating.
This book broke my heart, especially by the end. There are so many twists and turns that I never saw coming, only to have them slap me in the face by the last fifty pages. This isn’t the kind of book where I can just give the ending away in this review, so I won’t. The book needs to be read in order to understand its nuances. I really enjoyed it, though, as much as you can enjoy something this heavy and disturbing. Monday’s Not Coming also features important discussions around racism, classism, and homophobia. You can pick up a copy of Monday’s Not Coming at the Argenta Library.