Category Archives: Racism

To Do List: The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Title: The Nickel Boys
Author: Colson Whitehead
Twitter: @ColsonWhtiehead
Published: 2020
ISBN-13: 9780345804341
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Twitter: @penguinrandom

Publisher’s Blurb: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly 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 grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” 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 more 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.

Oh lordy, this book is searing, devastating and enthralling at all once.  Whitehead’s powerful writing tells the story of two boys in a hell hole of a juvenile detention home in Florida.  No one could possibly believe in a “post-racist” society while events like this happen.

Full review to come.