The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead | Doubleday Books {Book Review}

book review of The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Book Summary:

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.
Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

Publication Date:

July 16th, 2019

Genre:

Literary/Historical Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

The Nickel Boys is a powerful story that takes on important American history. Colson Whitehead uses rich metaphors and ornate descriptions in this haunting tale based on true events at The Dozier School for boys in Florida. The Nickel Boys is a historical fiction coming of age story centering around a young black man named Elwood Curtis at the beginning of the civil rights movement. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time when he was then sentenced to time at a “reform school in Florida.

Curtis and many other young black boys were sent to the Nickel Academy, and the mistreatment and abuse they encountered is just heartbreaking. This is absolutely an important story to tell but the book felt lacking for me at many points. While the story was impactful, I feel a lack of connection with the characters and felt wanting more. The ending, while definitely having the “wow” factor, did not feel satisfying to me as a reader because of my lack of connection with the characters.

Many will appreciate the shorter length of this book but for me, I feel that I missed something and wished I could have been given more details. His writing is powerful and filled with beautiful prose but I just didn’t feel as engaged as I had hoped with such an important subject matter. The book didn’t flow easily for me and I would have loved to get more inside the heads of these characters that while they were described with great detail, I never felt I really knew. I so respect how Whitehead brought this important history to life and the inequality that existed in this country much too recently the execution just didn’t totally work for me.

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader DEAL!

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader DEAL!

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 9.41.03 AM.pngIf you have been waiting to purchase a Kindle Paperwhite, today is the day! I bought mine when it was a special deal ($40 off!) and I haven’t seen it on sale in a while. I have the smaller storage size and it works great for my needs ( you just need wifi to download a book so you don’t need to store them all on there). I have the Paperwhite that doesn’t have special offers (ads) on the screen saver but I don’t think it is a huge deal either way!

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Kindle Paperwhite Case:

I use the Fintie hard shell cases and I love them!

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I have the last generation Paperwhite model and it is still going strong but this new edition is waterproof which is pretty amazing. I have only heard great things but from friends who have upgraded.

Are you a Kindle reader? What is your favorite part?

Libby App:

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The best part of the Kindle for me is being able to read FREE books through the Libby App. I am planning on doing a full post about Libby next week but if you are wanting to learn more now you can click HERE for an overview.

Libby on the Porch Event

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And if you live in the area, we are doing a Libby On The Porch Event at the Charlotte Library the end of this month. I hope you can join us!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it supports this blog at no cost to you. 

Reading on a Budget | Kindle Book Deals & Amazon First Reads

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I love reading but it also is a habit that can add up quickly if you are buying all the books you are reading each month. Although I do love to buy books, I really try to be selective about what I actually buy, both for cost reasons and also because I really only want to have books in my personal collection that I truly loved.

I do a lot of research into the books I read and I am also a huge library book reader, both hard copy books and e-books through the Libby App. This allows me to read things without worrying about the guilt of buying it and then not always loving it. And when I do love it, I buy a copy and then have it to read again or share with my other book-loving friends.

I also love to find e-book deals online. One of my favorite things is to search for Kindle Book Deals over my morning coffee.  It gives me the greatest thrill when I find a book that has been on my TBR list and I like to share these on my Instagram stories so I can share the love.

Last year I learned about Amazon First Reads. It is a program that allows you early access to new book releases as a prime member.

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You are able to choose one e-book out of the six choices each month, for free! They are broken down by genre and it is a fun way to learn about new authors and have access to titles you might not have known about otherwise. Once you get the e-book it is yours to keep, so even if you don’t read it that month, it will be on your device when you are reading to read it.

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This month I chose I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagan who I have enjoyed reading in the past. Have you used Amazon First Reads? I would love to know your thoughts! <3