The Greatest

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Alan Gibbons
Barrington Stokes
Sep 2006
�Keane hates Muslim kids. He hates anyone he thinks is different. He picks on kids with red hair or glasses. Most of all, he picks on kids like me. He calls me a Paki. He says I�m a terrorist. He says I�m like Osama Bin Laden. But I�m no terrorist. I�m twelve! I�m just a normal kid. I like football, computer games and boxing. I just want to be left alone. I want to be a man of peace. I want to be like Muhammad Ali.�

In little over sixty pages, Alan Gibbons has subtly interwoven this story of violence and race-conflict with concepts of restraint, tolerance and peace. This is an exceptional work and one worthy of wholesale praise.

Twelve-year-old Ali is a boxer with a healthy respect and knowledge of his hero Muhammad Ali. His latest fight sees Ali pitted against arch-rival Chris Keane. Keane has tormented Ali in the past. The fight for Ali becomes one not so much only to win, but to assert his beliefs, to overcome initial hatred and ultimately to affirm his value, worth and humanity.

Taut in pace and tempo, the main thrust of the story is suffused throughout by biographical information about Muhammad Ali and his deeply humanist approach to life. The cumulative effect of both strands of the book combine to create a highly inspiring insight into the ways it is possible to escape becoming locked in by hatred, prejudice and intolerance and to utilise these to enhance and enrich our lives and the society within which we are located.

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on January 7, 2007 4:36 PM.

Dirty Bertie: Worms was the previous entry in this blog.

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