TITLE: The Nickel Boys
AUTHOR: Colson WhiteheadPUBLISHER: Doubleday/Random House Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2019
RATING: - 5/5
Set in the 1960s, Jim Crow era, The Nickel Boys is a work of fiction but, based on an actual place: The Dozier school, a horrible reform school in Marianna, FL that remained in operation for 100+ years. In this story that reform school is known as The Nickel Academy.
Elwood Curtis is a smart black boy who is being raised by his strict grandmother. He's on the right path, headed for college but, one bad decision lands him at the Nickel Academy. It's a place where young men are brutally abused: tortured and sexually assaulted. Despite all he must endure he tries to keep Dr. Martin Luther King's messages and ideals on his mind and in his heart. His friend Turner is more skeptical, he calls his friend naive. The boys try to follow the rules and not buck the system knowing full well that their lives are at risk.
The Nickel Boys is a relatively short book. It's a tough yet important story about a terrible time in US history. I thought the story was well written, heartbreaking at times, with a rather shocking and abrupt ending.