The Nickel Boys ~ by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys was on my Audible Wish List for a long time and then off and then I found out it won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was on Obama’s recommended lists from 2019 so it went back on my own Wish List.  I read Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and very much appreciated that book, but sometimes there is so much more to some books than I “get” and I wish I had the opportunity for a second reading. ( “SO many books and so little time” is so so true.) https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriennegibbs/2020/12/29/barack-obama-lists-his-top-books-of-2019/?sh=384c22674ed9 (mentioned in the text, not on the “list.”) 

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The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead
2019 / 224 pages
Read by JD Jackson 6h 46m
Rating 9.5  / historical fiction
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The Nickel Boys was on my Audible Wish List for a long time and then off and then I found out it won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was on Obama’s recommended lists from 2019 so it went back on my own Wish List.  I read Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and very much appreciated that book, but sometimes there is so much more to some books than I “get” and I wish I had the opportunity for a second reading. ( “SO many books and so little time” is so so true.) https://www.forbes.com/sites/adriennegibbs/2020/12/29/barack-obama-lists-his-top-books-of-2019/?sh=384c22674ed9 (mentioned in the text, not on the “list.”) 

It’s based on the story of the Florida State Reform School: ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_School_for_Boys
https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/08/16/boys-were-beaten-abused-florida-reform-school-now-colson-whitehead-fictionalizes-that-history/

 Elwood Curtis is an old about-to-be retired businessman living in New York City when we meet him in 2010 at the outset of the novel.  He comes across a news reference to a reform school he was assigned to in his youth and where there has recently been a scandal about a graveyard full of bones being dug up. Several of the boys, now almost old men, have come forward to validate the findings. Elmore finds that he has to relive those memories.  The main story consists of Elwood’s life in the “school.”
 
It’s set in the 1960s when Elmore was starting out in life as a poor but upstanding young man who has a job and makes good grades in high school.  He gets accepted into college, but while he’s walking there he’s given a ride by man who brings serious trouble and Elmore lands in the reform school. 

This was a Pulitzer winner (Whitehead’s second) as well as being on a number of “best of” lists.

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3 Responses to The Nickel Boys ~ by Colson Whitehead

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    I have wondered about this one… it’s not a mystery, is it?

    Like

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