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The Resource The nickel boys : a novel, Colson Whitehead

The nickel boys : a novel, Colson Whitehead

Label
The nickel boys : a novel
Title
The nickel boys
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Colson Whitehead
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Follows the experiences of two African-American teenagers at an abusive reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • ALA Notable Book, 2020.
  • Alex Award, 2020.
  • BCALA Literary Award for Fiction, 2020.
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2019.
  • Kirkus Prize for Fiction, 2018.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2019.
  • LibraryReads Favorites, 2019.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2019
  • Orwell Prize, 2020.
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2020.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ There were rumors about Nickel Academy, a Florida reform school, but survivors kept their traumas to themselves until a university archaeology student discovered the secret graveyard. Whitehead follows his dynamic, highly awarded, best-selling Civil War saga, The Underground Railroad (2016), with a tautly focused and gripping portrait of two African American teens during the last vicious years of Jim Crow. There is no way Elwood Curtis would ever have become a Nickel Boy if he was white. Raised by his strict grandmother, Elwood, who cherishes his album of recorded Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, is an exemplary student who earns admission to early college classes. But trouble whips up out of thin air, and instead he is sent to Nickel, where the Black boys are barely fed, classes are a travesty, and the threat of sexual abuse and torture is endemic. As Elwood tries to emulate Dr. King’s teachings of peace and forgiveness, he is befriended by the more worldly and pragmatic Turner, and together they try to expose the full extent of the brazenly racist, sadistic, sometimes fatal crimes against the Nickel Boys. Whitehead’s magnetic characters exemplify stoicism and courage, and each supremely crafted scene smolders and flares with injustice and resistance, building to a staggering revelation. Inspired by an actual school, Whitehead’s potently concentrated drama pinpoints the brutality and insidiousness of Jim Crow racism with compassion and protest.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: After the resounding triumph of Whitehead’s previous novel, readers will avidly await this intense drama, a scorching work that will generate tremendous media coverage. -- Donna Seaman (Reviewed 3/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 13, p38)
  • An incredibly powerful story about an abusive boys' reform school in the 1960s. Whitehead skillfully brings each character to life even as they suffer physical and emotional horrors. For fans of Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. -- Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL. (LibraryReads, July 2019)
  • /* Starred Review */ “As it had ever been with Nickel, no one believed them until someone else said it,” Whitehead (The Underground Railroad) writes in the present-day prologue to this story, in which construction workers have dug up what appears to be a secret graveyard on the grounds of the juvenile reform school the Nickel Academy in Jackson County, Fla. Five decades prior, Elwood Curtis, a deeply principled, straight-A high school student from Tallahassee, Fla., who partakes in civil rights demonstrations against Jim Crow laws and was about to start taking classes at the local black college before being erroneously detained by police, has just arrived at Nickel. Elwood finds that, at odds with Nickel’s upstanding reputation in the community, the staff is callous and corrupt, and the boys—especially the black boys—suffer from near-constant physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Elwood befriends the cynical Turner, whose adolescent experiences of violence have made him deeply skeptical of the objectivity of justice. Elwood and Turner’s struggles to survive and maintain their personhood are interspersed with chapters from Elwood’s adult life, showing how the physical and emotional toll of his time at Nickel still affects him. Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight. (July) --Staff (Reviewed 01/31/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 6, p)
  • Having claimed multiple awards (including the Pulitzer) and over a million in sales across formats for The Underground Railroad, his ripped-gut portrait of American slavery, Whitehead now assays segregation through the experiences of young Tallahassee, FL, resident Elwood Curtis. In the 1960s, Elwood is college-bound until he makes a mistake that lands him at a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose staff profess to shape inmates into upstanding young men but who routinely deliver vicious beatings and sexual abuse and make sure resisters disappear forever. The shocked Elwood takes Martin Luther Kings’ pacifist approach to events, but friend Turner has other ideas. Whitehead researched the Florida Industrial School for Boys (later the Dozier Academy), where a secret mass grave was found after its 2011 closure. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed 02/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 1, p61)
  • /* Starred Review */ The acclaimed author of The Underground Railroad (2016) follows up with a leaner, meaner saga of Deep South captivity set in the mid-20th century and fraught with horrors more chilling for being based on true-life atrocities. Elwood Curtis is a law-abiding, teenage paragon of rectitude, an avid reader of encyclopedias and after-school worker diligently overcoming hardships that come from being abandoned by his parents and growing up black and poor in segregated Tallahassee, Florida. It's the early 1960s, and Elwood can feel changes coming every time he listens to an LP of his hero Martin Luther King Jr. sermonizing about breaking down racial barriers. But while hitchhiking to his first day of classes at a nearby black college, Elwood accepts a ride in what turns out to be a stolen car and is sentenced to the Nickel Academy, a juvenile reformatory that looks somewhat like the campus he'd almost attended but turns out to be a monstrously racist institution whose students, white and black alike, are brutally beaten, sexually abused, and used by the school's two-faced officials to steal food and supplies. At first, Elwood thinks he can work his way past the arbitrary punishments and sadistic treatment ("I am stuck here, but I'll make the best of it...and I'll make it brief"). He befriends another black inmate, a street-wise kid he knows only as Turner, who has a different take on withstanding Nickel: "The key to in here is the same as surviving out there—you got to see how people act, and then you got to figure out how to get around them like an obstacle course." And if you defy them, Turner warns, you'll get taken "out back" and are never seen or heard from again. Both Elwood's idealism and Turner's cynicism entwine into an alliance that compels drastic action—and a shared destiny. Inspired by disclosures of a real-life Florida reform school's long-standing corruption and abusive practices, Whitehead's novel displays its author's facility with violent imagery and his skill at weaving narrative strands into an ingenious, if disquieting whole. There's something a tad more melodramatic in this book's conception (and resolution) than one expects from Whitehead, giving it a drugstore-paperback glossiness that enhances its blunt-edged impact. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10785442
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1969-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Whitehead, Colson
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3573.H4768
LC item number
N53 2019
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Reformatories
  • African American teenagers
  • Racism
  • Florida
Label
The nickel boys : a novel, Colson Whitehead
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
213 pages
Isbn
9780385537070
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2018042961
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1107305153
Label
The nickel boys : a novel, Colson Whitehead
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
213 pages
Isbn
9780385537070
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2018042961
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1107305153

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
      148 Pylant Street, Senoia, GA, 30276, US
      33.297709 -84.561283

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