Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds Book Review
“Look Both Ways” by Jason Reynolds is about Middle School kids going home from school and all of their experiences doing it. Each story has its own contribution to the literary terms.
The title “Look Both Ways,” is more than a kid crossing the street or on a bus. Look Both Ways is the endless possibilities of what can happen. Crossing the Street is your own way of doing it. You can do anything you want and change your way every day. In Story four, Fatima Moss talks about how she writes in her notebook every way to have the perfect experience walking home. One day while walking home she fell on the sidewalk. “Her body won. She took flight. But only for a second. Then she took… fall.” But then she wrote the next day, “Difference, I took a step over the crack.” Once Fatima got the right day, she kept following it. Look Both Ways is more so “How To Look Both Ways.” Fatima Moss’ story shows that there are many things that can happen and many things you can avoid while walking home from school.
The Conflict in this story is every type. In a normal story, you would usually have one. But in “Look Both Ways,” there are all types. In Story one, Jasmine and Terrance experience Person v.s. Person conflict. They argue over what they should and shouldn't do for Mrs. Broom's Homework assignment. In the Story two, The Low Cuts experience Group conflicts. Arguments, disagreement and denial. They do all of this to try and help their cancerous parents. With a group trying to do things comes conflict. In Story four, Fatima Moss experiences Person v.s. Nature conflict. While she walks home, she experiences many obstacles within nature. In Story eight, Cynthia has Person v.s. Self conflict. She is embarrassed because no one shows up to her shoe which hurts her.
The overall theme in “Look Both Ways” is to choose your own path. Each story in “Look Both ways” has a different way of walking home. No story has the people doing the same thing in the same way. Everything is different. Some stories like “Water Boogers and Bears” are just walking home while talking, while other stories like “The Corner Of Portal Avenue” is about a boy's Mom that was hit by a school bus. Even though not every story is the way they chose to walk home, or not the ideal way of walking home, a lot of them are them doing it in their own way and the way they want to.
There is a recurring sentence that always comes up in “Look Both Ways.” is “A school bus falling from the sky.” This sentence contributes to the theme. The very last sentence of the book is; “Canton smiled, knowing a school bus is many things. So is a walk home.” And in the beginning of Cantons story, there is a poem about how many things a school bus can be. I think this relates to choosing your own path and doing whatever you want to do and the variety of options and choices you have.
There is a ton of motifs in “Look Both Ways.” The houses, streets, people, assignments, events and everything is in every story. Almost every stroy has Portal Avenue in it. Also, in Cantons story, Jasmine and Terrance come in to the school saying Mrs. Post was hit by a bus.