The Nickel Boys Review

E-book, 213 Pages
Historical Fiction/ Adult
By: Colson Whitehead
Rating: 🌟🌟 1/2

“You can change the law but you can’t change people and how they treat each other.”

Historical fiction is not really my thing and I should just stick to this fact! I can’t deny that I enjoyed some of the books in this genre but overall, I end up more disappointed than not when I read it. I haven’t read Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” and I did not want to read The Nickel boys for a long time. I had a gut feeling I won’t enjoy it but that was changed when I saw the book at a local bookstore and I had a sudden urge to read it. Unfortunately, I did not end up liking it as much as I wanted to.

My rating is not for the story itself but rather the technical stuff in writing and characterizations. Usually I can finish a book of this length (213 pages) in one day or two maximum but it took me five days and almost a slump to finish this one. I think the prose is not bad but the way it flowed felt unnatural to me, most of the sentences by themselves are good but the paragraphs felt a bit stiff to me. I found myself continuously getting into and out of the story which made it a tough ride.

The story is an important one, it was very atmospheric and I love how the author did not hold back. It made me angry and disgusted and I felt that there is unfairness in the world and I can tell you I have faced many kinds of racism in my life so I can relate. I understand how it won the Pulitzer prize for the core messages it holds but I am not someone who would automatically love a story just because it won a prestigious prize!

“We must believe in our souls that we are somebody, that we are significant, that we are worthful, and we must walk the streets of life every day with this sense of dignity and this sense of somebody-ness.”

Elwood was an interesting character but I honestly wanted more from him and the other characters. I just couldn’t help feeling some distance from everything in the story! I am also not a very big fan of the ending!

Summary: I do get the hype but I can not be part of it. I think it is an atmospheric and important story but the genre rarely works for me and this time is no exception. I think the delivery was a bit off for me. I did not like the story and I did not hate it. I just expected more and that’s why I stand somewhere in the middle and my rating exactly reflects that!

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