Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before DyingA Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jefferson, a black man wrongly convicted for murder, sits on death row. Grant, a black schoolteacher from Jefferson't hometown, is tasked with teaching him pride in himself as they both struggle with their humanity and the society that got them where they are (and where we still are).

First thoughts: I wish this book wasn't so timely, considering it was written 20 years ago and set 70 years ago. I wanted it to be "history," but instead it felt surreal.

Recommendations: Don't get me wrong, this book is well-written, a slow burn - but I'd like it to be more detailed, maybe a bit more condensed with added character development. I cared about Jefferson and Grant, but not as much as I could have. I didn't know enough about them or their motivations. While the story moved me, I've also forgotten parts of it now, three months after finishing.

Recommended for: humanity.

Final thoughts: Sad. Sad and honest and a lesson to all of us: we are all human and we all deserve dignity.

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