Assessment focuses: AF1–8
As part of a campaign to raise the profile of reading, pupils wrote ‘entertaining and reasonably concise’ reviews of books they had enjoyed to be displayed, in the school library. Pupil A chose to write about Bali Rai's The Last Taboo, which features a teenage romance developing against a background of racism.
Teen taboo....romance stepping over the lineBali Rai's most recent novel, 'The last Taboo' depicts a gripping and engaging tale of forbidden teen romance and the racial tension among those in the British Asian and Black communities. The skilfully told story addresses and explores this ongoing issue that is common within mixed race societies, as in Leicester, where the novel is set.Similar to, 'The last Taboo', Malone Blackman's trilogy, 'Noughts and Crosses' also has an outlook on racial divisions and love, dealing with these topical issues in a made up world.Simran, a teenage girl of an Asian background is attracted to Tyrone, a member of the Black community. But her extended family, with their racial views, would not approve of such and so Simran is initially reluctant to go out with Tyrone. Nevertheless, their liking for each other increases and they then decide to face these racist reactions to their relationship, which inevitably leads to hatred and violence among the two communities and within Simran's own family.The language used by the author and the violent events such as riots between school gangs of ditTerent races, make the book truly reflect the strife that is seen in society today.Many teenagers are able to relate to this problem well, and so would definitely enjoy reading this book.The inclusion of multiple viewpoints also makes the book more interesting as everyone is able to identify with at least one of the characters well. The book does contain some hilarious moments too during the happier times.The emotions expressed by the characters are extraordinarily moving. You will not help but feel for the characters through their ups and downs, regardless of being Asian or not. It will leave you thinking about racism, Asian taboo and the stressful effects this has on teenagers today. 'The Last Taboo' is a book that simply must be read so that you are able to live the experience for yourself of being a British Asian teenager. It is indeed an excellent must-read novel!