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The Nickel Boys

af Colson Whitehead

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4,0412152,980 (4.25)354
As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.… (mere)
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» Se også 354 omtaler

Engelsk (199)  Fransk (4)  Catalansk (4)  Hollandsk (3)  Italiensk (1)  Spansk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (213)
Viser 1-5 af 213 (næste | vis alle)
Sad, intense, a lot to take in. ( )
  RaynaPolsky | Apr 21, 2024 |
A tautly-written account of one boy's experience of reform school in segregated 1960s America. Bright, studious Elwood Curtis finds himself there, having been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Its cruelties and injustices, the differences between the experiences of black boys and white boys incarcerated at the Nickel Academy are always understated, never dwelt on. A few characters apart from Elwood's are developed, but the strength of the story derives from its understating the horrors of the system it describes. The central premise is that racism was so endemic it wasn't even recognised as such. It's all very well resolving to be good, keep your head down and play the system that way, but nobody can work out how to do this. There are a couple of scenes that could well have been included - Elwood's appearance in court, and another later on (no spoilers here).

A thoughtful book, with an impact that remains long after the last page has been turned. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
This one's going to stick with me for a long time. It will rip your heart right out but won't let you stop reading. ( )
  gonzocc | Mar 31, 2024 |
A couple years ago I had never heard of Colson Whitehead; now I've read five of his books. One wasn't great, three were real good, but none of them can hold a candle to The Nickel Boys. We're with the protagonist, Elwood, while living with his grandmother in Tallahassee in the '60s. He's a super smart kid, despite being Black in Florida in the '60s, works full time, is dipping his toes into the civil rights movement, and is preparing to take college courses while still in high school. Then, through the racism and shitty luck, he gets sent away to a jail/school for minors. Most of the book flashes between his time in this horrific institution and Elwood in the future in NYC. If you don't fall in love with this dude, you're out of your mind. If your heart is broken by so many of his experiences, and the experiences of those around him, you're made of stone.

Part of my fondness for this book might be because I was locked up in a similar place when I was around his age, and it has stayed with me in the 26 years since I got out. Though the place Elwood gets send to is much more physically violent, a lot of the mental and emotional torture is the same and many of his mates in their suffer the same fate as those I was with.

Anyway, get this book and read it. I promise you won't regret it. ( )
  bookonion | Mar 10, 2024 |
Anything Whitehead writes is pure gold. It's just a matter of how thick it is. This story of a reform school in the 1960s, the Nickel Academy, is thick. ( )
  ben_r47 | Feb 22, 2024 |
Viser 1-5 af 213 (næste | vis alle)
The books feel like a mission, and it’s an essential one. In a mass culture where there is no shortage of fiction, nonfiction, movies and documentaries dramatizing slavery and its sequels under other names (whether Jim Crow or mass incarceration or “I can’t breathe”), Whitehead is implicitly asking why so much of this output has so little effect or staying power. He applies a master storyteller’s muscle not just to excavating a grievous past but to examining the process by which Americans undermine, distort, hide or “neatly erase” the stories he is driven to tell.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe New York Times, Frank Rich (pay site) (Jul 14, 2019)
 
Even when he’s arrested on the flimsiest evidence and sentenced to Nickel Academy, Elwood clings to his faith that goodness will be rewarded, that the rule of law will prevail. The academy, as Whitehead presents it, is a place of well-groomed exteriors and encouraging principles — a place, if you will, like the United States at large... And what a deeply troubling novel this is. It shreds our easy confidence in the triumph of goodness and leaves in its place a hard and bitter truth about the ongoing American experiment.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe Washington Post, Ron Charles (pay site) (Jul 9, 2019)
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (28 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Colson Whiteheadprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Huang, LindaOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Jackson, JDFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Koay, Pei LoiDesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Libbert, NeilFotografmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Munday, OliverOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Recoursé, CharlesTraductionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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They were sent to Nickel for offenses Elwood had never heard of: malingering, mopery, incorrigibility. Words the boys didn’t understand either, but what was the point when their meaning was clear enough: Nickel. I got busted for sleeping in a garage to keep warm, I stole five dollars from my teacher, I drank a bottle of cough syrup and went wild one night. I was on my own trying to get by (Whitehead 81).
He had a date, now he needed a course of action. He felt rotten those first days out of the hospital until he came up with a scheme that combined Turner’s advice with what he’d learned from his heroes in the movement. Watch and think and plan. Let the world be a mob Elwood will walk through it. They might curse and spit and strike him, but he’d make it through to the other side. Bloodied and tired, but he’d make it through (Whitehead 93).
“It used to be worse in the old days,” Harper said, “from what my aunt says. But the state cracked down and now we lay off the south-campus stuff.” Meaning, they only sold the black students’ supplies. “We had this good old boy who used to run Nickel, Roberts, who would’ve sold the air you breathe if he could’ve. Now that was a crook!” (Whitehead 97).
The boy had been a reedy little runt when he got to Nickel and regularly punked out his first year until he learned to fight, and then he preyed on the smaller kids, taking them into closets and supply rooms—you teach what you’re taught (Whitehead 170).
Plenty of boys had talked of the secret graveyard before, but as it had ever been with Nickel, no one believed them until someone else said it.
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As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.

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