Your heart is a muscle the size of a fist

Your heart is a muscle the size of a fist by Sunil Yapa (Little, Brown, 2016)

This novel really affected me because I have been learning about direct action and nonviolent protest in recent months. It takes place at the direct action protests in Seattle against the World Trade Organization meeting in 1999, where police beat up on the anti-globalization protesters. The story is told in short chapters that go back and forth between the perspectives of various people present, from police officers to protesters to a WTO delegate. Yet the reader really gets to know each character and how their day on the street broke their hearts. The Chief of Police’s son, in this story anyway, ran away at 16 three years ago, but has found his way back to Seattle and ends up participating in the protests. Another protester runs away due to fear that if arrested she’ll be charged with a murder that took place several years before. Some of the police officers have no problem hurting the protesters for reasons of their own, though this is not the Chief’s intention. Through the medium of a novel, the author makes strong statements about globalization, free trade, the freedom to protest, love, and police brutality.

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