The Nickel Boys PDF æ The Nickel PDF/EPUB ²

The Nickel Boys I loved this novel It is rich with detail the plot twists in a really interesting way the novel's structure is pretty brilliant and overall this is an ambitious book that was really well executed It is a coming of age story where that coming of age is warped by the atrocities of a school for boys in segregated Florida As Elwood awakens to the civil rights movement he is stripped of nearly all his rights The he understands the freedom he deserves the less freedom he has and that juxtaposition drives this remarkable novel At times there were bits of prose that felt a bit half hearted like filler until he got to the part he was interested in I would have given this five stars but Whitehead uses cement instead of concrete at least 7 times I stopped counting after 7 times because it was too upsetting Cement water and aggregates make concrete Cement and concrete are not synonyms Why do copyeditors not catch this WHY Anyway great novel People are going to love this one BUT STILL CEMENT IS NOT CONCRETE The Nickel Boys a book about the horrors of a fictional reformatory school in 1960s Southern USA was my first experience reading Colson Whitehead I was excited to read this literary powerhouse author of nine novels one of which won the Pulitzer prize in 2017 As I dug into the book I recognised right away that it is written very well some might say flawlessly In fact I wouldn't dare to critiue it on that level Its structure pacing etc are exemplaryExemplary yet I was left wanting I wanted to hear the author's voice Instead I felt I was reading something dare I say generic conventional predictable safe It didn't feel original I had an eerie feeling that I'd read a slightly different version of this before Of course I hadn't but I was still plagued by this haunting feeling that these pages could have been written by any number of other peopleI was oddly unaffected by the characters as well as the plot twist which I registered with a relatively low level of emotion I'm disappointed to feel this way The subject matter is obviously important and I did appreciate the struggle the main character had in his attempts to live out the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr to love his oppressors while suffering and waiting for victory I understand the theme of beaten down damaged broken idealism I can eat that shit up with a spoon I wanted Colson Whitehead to use that theme to torture me transport me touch me and teach me It's hard to read a book with a worthy subject such as this one but feel a lack of connection Earlier this year I read A Woman is No Man and had a similar experience In that case it was mainly due to a lack of writing finesse In The Nickel Boys the writing was all there but for me a sense of daring a signature a vital something was missing Something that would have told me I wasn't just reading another book about racial atrocities in the 1960s but one that scalds as I close the last page one that is branded with the author's uniue powers with a tightly plotted and masterfully crafted story this book absolutely demands to be read i can only say that i think it would have benefitted from a less nonfiction esue writing style at times but even with my writing preferences i definitely see why this has received so much praise and would recommend it to anyone Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeColson Whitehead confirms his position as a phenomenal writer with this ostensibly heartbreaking and harrowing fictional storytelling but which is informed by the darkest most shameful and ugliest period of American history explored through the lives of two young boys set in the early 1960s Civil Rights time and all the horrors of the Jim Crow era in Frenchtown segregated Tallahassee Florida Whitehead writes in understated and subtly nuanced prose all the effective in delivering its relentless and emotionally hard hitting punches that live on in the memory long after the reader has finished reading the book Elwood Curtis is a bright and hardworking boy who lives with his beloved and strict grandmother who keeps him on the straight and narrow He is caught by the fire and ideals of Martin Luther King's spiritual rhetoric and philosophy and the fight for emancipation believing in the euality of everyoneExcited by the thought of attending a local black college the innocent Elwood's life is to fall apart when he is sent to the evil hellhole that is The Nickel Academy a segregated juvenile reform school run by the unbearably cruel and sadistic Maynard Spencer Elwood is to find himself in a racist place that has no interest in educating or improving the lives of the young men and where everyday life reeks of despair misery and never ending horrors Vicious brutality sexual abuse torture repression corruption disappearing boys and death are rife as Elwood struggles to maintain King's higher ideals of love trust and freedom in the face of his and his friend Turner's realities Turner has a cynical and jaundiced picture of the world he sees believing Elwood to be naive as he plots and schemes trying to avoid as much trouble as possible The boys futures are to be shaped by their experiences and what they have seen and Elwood is living in New York when a traumatic past that refuses to lie down returns into his lifeThe Nickel Academy is based on an actual reform school with its graveyard in Marianna Florida and interspersed in the narrative are uotes from the actual traumatised survivors of the place along with uotes from King himself Whitehead's novel is not only a scathing indictment of the likes of The Nickel Academy but of aspects of American society that allowed the existence of the reform school and the evil within and as such bear responsibility for what happened there but pertinently the political and social structures that legitimised such horrors and the wider racism and discrimination Whitehead shines a powerful light on American history the shadows of which have never gone away and which are undeniably present in our contemporary world A superb novel that is a must read of justice and injustice and which I feel is destined to become a classic in the future Highly recommended Many thanks to Little Brown for an ARC The thought of this book stirs up a pain so sharp it almost seems my flesh lay openThere is so much I can’t figure out how to say in words right now My heart feels as raw as a burn; a feeling made all the resonant by the realization that the story is inspired by true events that it captures between its pages the remembered violence of America's history—fathomless and ugly Colson Whitehead refuses to do their reader the dishonor of the lies the comfortable omissions and I'm glad for itA must read uick updateMeeting Colson Whitehead last night was great He was so hilarious I don’t think one person in the room expected him to be as funny as he was A gorgeous man funnier than any of us could imagine He stayed away from the seriousness of the topics in his books A little uote from Colson about book genres Colson said there are only 2 types of books in the world “those you like and those you don’t” Super man Super authorSuper fun listening to him speak Audiobooknarrated by JD Jackson and Colson WhiteheadI’m seeing Colson Whitehead this week in Santa Cruz at a book reading With much to admire about his body of work’ as an author and humanitarian it will be exciting to meet him The “Nickel Boys” is a ‘fictitious’ story inspired by truth of what happened at the state run institution “The Dozier Florida School for Boys” that took place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement ‘The Nickel Academy’ was an establishment for boys in Tallahassee Florida in the 1960’s It was a place where society didn’t much care what happened to the boys who attended Some were orphans Others considered juvenile delinuents even for very minor wrongdoings The horrific atrocities that took place was sickening disturbingdehumanizing brutal unfathomable abuseincluding torture rape and murder BEYOND AWFUL in other words We follow the story of young Elwood Curtishis friend Turner and other boys as they describe their trips to the ‘White House’ The stories are agonizingElwood was a decent better than decent young man with high marks in school with an idealistic outlook on human justice and racial euality — but one day being in the wrong place at the wrong time got him sent to The Nickel Academy Elwood the kid who believed in justice civil rights before most did — listened to Martin Luther King regularly got a huge ugly awakening at The Nickel SchoolHis dreams were shattered at the reformabusive school He struggled to understand all that was happening inside the walls of that institution But it was the goodness and memories of his grandmother and MLK — that gave him hope to keep fighting for what was right I appreciate the importance of learning all that I didnot only from this book alone —but from reading a little about the true horror stories at Florida’s Dozier school in Marianna Floridawhich just recently and finally closed its doors in 2011 Over the past decade hundreds of men have come forward to tell the gruesome stories of abuse and the terrible beatings they suffered ‘Listening’ to this story felt flat and monotonous at times I felt detached emotionally but intellectually I was appalled The writing was beautiful — but I also felt detached from it through listening anyway — Then I debated the uestion “was this detachment best for this story” Was it intentional or was it me Part of me thinks yes — part of me thinks no —to both uestions I hope to resolve this issue for myself after listening to Colson speak about this book I have a hunch that I’ll connect with the physical book than I did the Audiobook— andor connect with things differently after listening to Colson Whitehead speak this coming Thursday night I’m looking forward to meeting him hearing him speak very muchThanks to my friend Margie for lending me her Audiobook — so I didn’t have to show up blind at the book reading this week 45 stars for a great book and sad times all around Appreciate the way the main characters uestion Dr King’s notion of still loving those who are cruel to you Elwood’s precociousness and Turner’s heroism are so admirable and endearing The plot twist is great too Whitehead is a skilled writer but I do wish his prose opened up to of Elwood’s emotional psyche rather than his journalistic tone which limits the internal narrative and emotional experience Since this is a story based on reality we could have read a Wikipedia page or a journal instead; I wish Whitehead had seized the opportunity of differentiating his fictional story with an added layer of emotional depth Regardless of that personal preference though it's still a great book True to form Colson Whitehead delivers another well written deep story that while incredibly devastating deserves to be told The Nickel Boys is fictional account based on the true horrifying Dozier School for Boys in good ol’ Florida which Whitehead references at both the beginning and end of the book ”You can hide a lot in an acre in the dirt” I was immediately a fan of Elwood the main character a virtuous teenage student following rules respecting authority and admiring Dr Martin Luther King Jr En route to early college classes one day Elwood finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up sentenced to Nickel Academy a reform school for young men There he eventually becomes friends with another boy Turner who calls him out for being so naive The boys attempt to keep their heads down and do the work reuired of them in order to hopefully avoid harm and leave sooner rather than later Parts of the story flash forward to several years post Nickel and the ultimate outcome was not what I had expected A book that is tough to read given the grim subject but one that needs to be shared Infuriating and tragic The Nickel Boys is a small but powerful book that packs a punch Winner of the 2020 Pulizer Prize for FictionIn this bravura follow up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow era Florida When Elwood Curtis a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy he finds himself trapped in a grotesue chamber of horrors Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinuent” Turner which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive that the world is crooked and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble As life at the Academy becomes ever perilous the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 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 Before starting this novel I had read several interviews with Colson Whitehead and reading them added to my understanding of THE NICKEL BOYS Mr Whitehead chose to write about a piece of history which even he had known nothing about before 2014 a reform school for boys which operated for decades and where children were treated with cruelty and brutality A deeply disturbing and shocking novel about two black boys in the 1960s who are sent to the so called reform school The Nickel Academy who become friends and who undergo massive horrific psychological and physical abuse during their stay thereTHE NICKEL BOYS is not a long novel but it does comprise a lot of anger helplessness pain and despair I am certain I will reread this novel again for its intensity and narration This is not a novel that leaves a reader indifferent

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