PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • This follow-up to The Underground Railroad 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. • "One of the most gifted novelists in America today." —NPR
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 that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and “should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best" (Entertainment Weekly).
Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Crook Manifesto, coming soon!
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The hellish world of Colson Whitehead’s novel is made even more devastating by the fact that it’s based on a real place and events. The Nickel Boys takes us back to the early ’60s, when idealistic teenager Elwood Curtis lands in Florida’s Nickel Academy, a so-called reform school whose young black detainees are routinely beaten, sexually abused, and even murdered. Narrator J. D. Jackson’s calm delivery acts as a sort of balm, helping us withstand the brutality of Elwood’s experiences. Whenever Jackson reads the words of Elwood’s hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we feel the hope that sustains Elwood during his trials.
This reading was so incredibly detailed and rich. This is he first Colson Whitehead novel I've been exposed to and I'm obsessed with this author. I usually figure out the endings before hand but not this time and my jaw literally dropped. Listening was slightly difficult with jumping from the past to the present but easily discernible once you knew what to listen for. This audio book has hauntingly stayed with me.