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The Nickel Boys
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. 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. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven 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.
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Andrew65
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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#MLKDay #JanuaryJazz

59 long years and we are still waiting for Martin‘s Dream to come to fruition. The seminal speech of the 21st Century, but it feels at the moment as if this dream is moving further away than ever with so many right winged governments around the world. We must fight on!

This is the link for the speech which I often watch. https://youtu.be/smEqnnklfYs

@Eggs @AlwaysBeenALoverOfBooks

CBee YES 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 3w
Andrew65 I was going to tag Dear Martin by Nic Stone, but notice @Eggs already tagged that today. If you haven‘t read Dear Martin I urge you to read that book. Also everyone should also read the tagged book which for me left me reeling on so many fronts. Both these books address why we need to fight racism in every form! (edited) 3w
Eggs Well done 👏🏻 3w
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MrsV
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

It so heartbreaking to read what it was like in this country not too long before I was born. 5 ⭐️

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xicanti
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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My afternoon plans include some Yona, a Barking Squirrel Amber Lager from Hopcity Brewing Co, and my first official #AuldLangSpine title! (Full disclosure: I cheated and read one at the end of 2022. More on that later.) I‘m excited to dive in. I‘ve only read one Whitehead previous to this, but I deeply respect his commitment to privileging the truth far ahead of the reader‘s comfort.

monalyisha Looks relaxing! 1mo
Blerdgal_Fenix Great book 1mo
MeganAnn Looks like an excellent way to spend the afternoon! 1mo
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TheRiehlDeal
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

A low pick for me.

I didn‘t read the synopsis, so I didn‘t know what this was about going in, but after doing some research, it makes me mad that this is what black people suffered through during the Jim Crow Era.

I commend Whitehead for tackling an important topic in American history. But I do have one gripe about this book and the use of the n word. It was a little off putting for me.

2.75 ⭐️
11/12/22

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jenniferw88
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks In my shelf!! 6mo
47 likes1 comment
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mollyrotondo
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a reread for me. I liked it even better the second time. I was so focused on the atrocities of the school when I first read this one. But this time I was able to pick up on all the other important points Whitehead was making. Definitely recommend multiple readings of this one.

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behudd
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫I‘ve purposefully avoided this book since it came out because of the difficulty of the subject matter & my general avoidance of “heavy” fiction, but Whitehead manages to write of brutality without his writing becoming brutal.
The fact that it‘s real, recent history is hard to take in, and I‘m grateful there are authors like Whitehead who do the difficult work of wading through that history & telling us these stories.

behudd @TheAromaofBooks this was my May #bookspin book 9mo
britt_brooke Such an incredible read! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 9mo
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Oryx
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Perfect condition copy of this book from charity shop for only £2. Could not resist. Litsy reviews suggest it's a hard read in terms of subject matter, but excellent.

Karons1 Agree it is a harrowing 😫 read and sadly true should be photos of the real boys home at the back of the book and I Googled the real story , hundreds of bodies found when it was closed down for good ,anyway enjoy we need to read the hard stuff sometimes . 9mo
squirrelbrain Bargain! I much preferred it to The Underground Railroad, although it is a tough read. 9mo
Oryx @Karons1 yes, necessary reading sadly. 9mo
charl08 Wonderful book: and what a bargain! 9mo
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CindyMyLifeIsLit
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Set in a school for juvenile offenders during the 1960s, the story relates the horrendous abuse suffered by the students of color. The protagonist is an intelligent, straight-arrow kid who winds up there out of sheer bad luck. He clings to MLK‘s words for comfort and strength but soon learns that the admin of the school do not share MLK‘s vision.

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behudd
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Even in death the boys were trouble.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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SanjanaGhosh
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Oh the ending!!

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keepingupwiththepenguins
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Whew! Whitehead is monstrously talented. I knew it all along, and yet reading The Nickel Boys was still a shock. He knows just when to pull your eyes away from a scene, to avoid reveling in the horror, which somehow makes it more impactful. Full review: https://keepingupwiththepenguins.com/the-nickel-boys-colson-whitehead/

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DcSunshine
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
Mehso-so

It‘s got it‘s surprises along the way, but it was both a time and emotional investment into characters that didn‘t prove to be worth it in the end

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BookwormM
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Not a book you would describe as enjoyable but it is an important story with sympathetic characters and a hopeful ending.

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MeganAnn
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

@JackOBotts I‘m so glad you had this on your #nywd22 list! This is a book I‘ve wanted to read, but also felt very intimidated by because of the hard subject matter and content warnings.

Yes, everything that happened to these boys is heartbreaking, but Whitehead handles in the most brilliant way. Allowing the reader to feel for the boys without wallowing in the sadness. To be in the story but not be so weighed down by it like others I‘ve read… ⬇️

MeganAnn And I did not see that twist coming! In fact, part of what allows the reader to keep going is also what makes the twist so brilliant. With this, I definitely look forward to reading The Underground Railroad which I‘ve also put off for similar reasons. 4.75⭐️ 12mo
JackOBotts I‘m glad you enjoyed this, too. This was a moving, gripping novel, inspired by real life horrors at the boys schools. From my #NYWD21 list from @dariazeoli 💜 12mo
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sprainedbrain
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I finished my first #NYWD22 book from the list of @Amandajoy and I‘m going to need a minute. 😢

This book has been on my tbr since it came out, and I just love the way Colson Whitehead writes. A work of fiction that is strongly based in the real-life horror that was the Dozier ‘school‘ for boys, this book took me right through every emotion and broke my heart.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Amandajoy Yeah. I read the last half of this at work. I was very happy it was a slow day and no one called as I got to the end. I might not have answered the phone. 13mo
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Jody3
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

A fictional work based on the state-run Dozier School for Boys in Florida where boys were tortured and even murdered while the school remained open for more than 100 years. Brilliantly written and completely devastating. The novel ends with a nice twist.

Andrew65 A personal favourite and that ending! 😢 13mo
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Michellesibs
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This is just over 200 pages but it's not really a quick read. It's very tense, disturbing and damn right horrifying and I had to put this book down many times to process what I had just read.
While this maybe a work of fiction, we can all recall the many stories in the media on these 'reform schools' in the last decade. The horrifying stories, the racism, the cover ups, the lack of any meaningful apology.
Excellent read.

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Rissa1
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

#WinterGames2021 #TeamGameSleighers Finished this TBR read tonight while these two snuggled on my lap (they just use me for my blanket). This book was sad knowing it was based on actual events. I have been donating a lot of books lately but this will be added to my shelf. #WrapItReadathon #WinterCosy #AVeryMerryReadathon #DashingDecember @StayCurious @keys_on_fire @TheSpineView @Andrew65

Andrew65 A wonderful book but hits home, and the shock at the end. Well done 👏👏👏 14mo
TheSpineView Fantastic! 14mo
keys_on_fire I hope to read something of his in 2022! 14mo
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Rissa1
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Celebration of light is one of our Traditions. This year was bigger than ever and perfect for kids in quarentine since there is no human contact. #WinterGames2021 #TeamGameSleighers @StayCurious

StayCurious wow this is so cool! 14mo
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Rissa1
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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TheSpineView Excellant 🤩📖 1y
PuddleJumper Whooo 1y
keys_on_fire Ahhhh Christmas Vacation. One that I have yet to watch this year and MUST do before the 25th 😂 1y
StayCurious Great job! 14mo
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Rissa1
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Rissa1
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Nute
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Pulled along by tiny dreadful images. Sucked into an uncomfortable wonder at the possibility of a horrific underlying truth. Dragged into a relentless and unblinking telling of a history…somewhat imagined and yet somehow wholly the truth. Thrown down the rabbit hole in search of facts. Another swig from the well of bitter waters. Another shadow in the mirror reflecting a venomous darkness.👇🏽

Nute Another voice filled with cries of injustices that humans inflict on one another. I tried to feel better at the end, but even that ‘revelation‘ wasn‘t enough to make the taste of it, the feel of it, the sight of it tolerable. The stories that take up residence within us, that we must one day tell all of our children shed tears enough to drown the whole planet. I would read it again if I thought that I could once again bear it to the end. (edited) 1y
CallMeIshmael This book shook me 1y
Brooke_H Whitehead is so fantastic at what he does 1y
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Nute @CallMeIshmael It did the same thing to me. It wrung out all of my emotions. I won‘t forget it! 1y
Nute @Brooke_H Agreed! He is a talented writer. Did you read this book? 1y
Brooke_H @Nute Yes, I just finished it a couple of weeks ago. Remarkable. 1y
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Nute
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Reading for Book Club. I‘m always caught up in a less than 24-hour countdown every single month for book club. No matter how hard I try, no matter how determined I am to start the next book right after the conclusion of the last book, it never happens. It‘s a mad hustle in the end. &This month I think that I am the moderator.😳
Today…nothing, but reading! Too bad that I was up late last night watching scary movies & I‘m actually really sleepy!🥱😴

DivineDiana I understand completely! I have faith in you! 👍🏻📚👏🏻 1y
Nute @DivineDiana Thank you, Ms. Diana! I finished it today, no doubt, in part to your encouragement.🙂 1y
DivineDiana 👏🏻📚👍🏻 1y
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anniebannanie
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
Pickpick

Incredible writing

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BooksMcD
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

A fictional work based on the state-run Dozier School for Boys in Florida where boys were tortured and even murdered while the school remained open for more than 100 years.

I‘m still thinking about this book days after finishing it and nothing I could say about it will ever be enough. Brilliantly written and completely devastating. Add this to the pile of books that destroyed me emotionally.

TW: Racism, severe beating, sexual assault, rape

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IuliaC
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

One of the dark realities of the 20th century. Everywhere in the world authorities' failure against perpetrated abuses only increased criminality instead of fighting it and transformed potentially good and most of the times innocent citizens into unrecoverable lawbreakers. Some of the victims struggled to escape their bleak predetermined path and inspired others to do the same. The novel ends with a nice twist.

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BacklistReader
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Just checking in with how the readings going so far

#midwaypoint #halfwaythere

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alecia3dixie
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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5280reader
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Pulitzer Prize winner for sure! Such an enormous book that I couldn‘t put down. So many injustices and atrocities that I just wanted to scream throughout. So artfully crafted telling the story primarily of two youths sent to a Florida ‘reform school‘ in the 60‘s. This will stay with me for a while.

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Amandajoy
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Finished my #newyearwhodis #bookspin selection at work today. I was so glad no one called during the last chapter! Excellent read! Thus far I have not been disappointed with Mr. Whitehead‘s work. Now I have no idea what to read on shift tomorrow.

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
MallenNC I‘m glad you liked it! It‘s a tough subject but I really loved it. I still have some of your new year picks on my TBR. I‘ve been reading Braiding Sweetgrass but not wanting to rush it! It‘s so well written. 2y
Amandajoy @MallenNC Braiding Sweetgrass is definitely one to savor. 2y
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Amandajoy
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Forgot to post! My #bookspin and #doublespin picks for June! 🪅

Amandajoy Just realized I put May as the month instead of June. 🤦🏼‍♀️ 2y
Moonprismpower By the Book podcast just lived by and reviewed the art of asking. 🙃🙂 2y
Amandajoy @Moonprismpower oh, I love that podcast! I‘ll check it out! 2y
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 2y
Lizpixie Amanda Palmer is my #girlcrush💗 2y
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Bigwig
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I had to digest this novel for a few weeks before reviewing it. Beautifully written and unbearably sad, it follows a Black boy‘s experiences after he is unjustly sent to a Florida reform “school” whose horrors unfold with gut-wrenching terror. Everyone should read this novel. To use a movie analogy, this was a story that had me sitting in the theater long after the credits rolled and the lights went off.

SamAnne There is a horrific news cycle story in Canada. Indigenous kids in both U.S. and Canada were forced to go to schools to basically best their culture out of them. First Nations just found 215 children‘s bodies on the site of one of the Catholic run schools in Interior B.C. Sexual and physical abuse was rampant. This book, of course, immediately came to mind. And the place was operating in to the early 70s. (edited) 2y
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TamTracy
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This has been on my list to read for quite some time. I finally decided it was time and I‘m mad I waited so long. What a phenomenally written story about such an important topic! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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perfectsinner
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

It's hard to review a book that's so heartbreaking. It's atrocious that horrors like what happened at that "reform school" were allowed to happen and no one batted an eye. A thought-provoking book that makes you question your faith in humanity... at least it did for me. It leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and a heavy heart.

MayJasper I think you are brave. I don't think I have the strength to read what I am sure is an excellent book. 2y
perfectsinner It's a heavy hitter, for sure. I'll probably have a hard time finding something else to read, because I definitely want something light-hearted after that. Unfortunately, most of my stuff is like, WW historical fiction... 2y
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perfectsinner
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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I finally picked out my next book. Women Talking was kind of a letdown. I bought this over a year ago and have been saving it, so I hope it's worth the wait
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

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Beccacraft
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
Pickpick

This book provides a glimpse of the devastating effects of a Southern reform school during the Jim Crow era through the eyes of two black boys sentenced there. Based on a real school, this book follows the stories of the two boys and the horrors they witnessed and endured at the reform school and what happened after they left. Well-written, eye-opening, and beautifully tragic.

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Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This book packs a huge punch in 213 pages. We follow the bond of two black teens as they struggle to survive the horrors of a reform school in 1960s Florida. Based on a real reform school, we are privy to just a few incidents here and nowhere near the full range of atrocities unleashed upon the boys in attendance. Not to cash in on the "torture porn", but I think there was room to highlight a bit more of what was happening in the school.

Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick @TheAromaofBooks This was my February #bookspin selection that I'm finally reviewing. #bookspinbingo 2y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 2y
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BacklistReader
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I loved this one!

If you haven‘t picked it up you definitely should.

#didntseethatcoming #historicalfiction

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j9brown
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This book will wreck you. So good, though.

In a major reading slump here, just sort of existing, behind on all my litsy challenges. I'll get my act together eventually. Just need a little more sunshine, literally, I'm like a houseplant ☀️🌱

KatieDid927 ❤️ 2y
Crazeedi I know exactly what you mean, spring and sunshine definitely needed!! 2y
66 likes2 comments
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BacklistReader
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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I started a book club with my mom and sister. Best book club ever!

#bookclubs #familyreadingtogether

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JenReadsAlot
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

Tough read, but very good. My #doublespin for March. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
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FelinesAndFelonies
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This book is a gut-punch. It would be terrible if it wasn't based on the Dozier School for Boys. The true horror is that a place like this really existed. Knowing that people were aware of the torture those children were enduring and chose to remain quiet... There isn't a great way to review this book. It reveals the worst of humanity and the cruelty of broken men. But it celebrates friendship and surviving an unimaginable hell. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

JenReadsAlot I just finished this and agree.... 2y
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BacklistReader
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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March TBR stack

We‘re already off to a great start!

#TBR #tbrstack #marchtbr #marchtoread

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rsteve388
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

I read this book in one day. So powerful! Wow! What a story. Historical fiction about a reformatory schools for boys who undergo atrocities that break the human spirit. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, whippings. This story was laid out so well, that the ending is shocking but not surprising. What an excellent story.

Come-read-with-me This book blew me away. Such a gripping story! 2y
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candority
The Nickel Boys: A Novel | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

This book is heartbreaking and deserves all the attention that it has received. It isn‘t quite a 5-star read for me though, because I felt as though I was being held an arm‘s length away for most of the story due to the journalistic tone of the book. I think an emotional tone would have packed more of a punch for me, but nonetheless this is a fantastic, must-read book. 4⭐️

SamAnne Reading this powerful heartbreaking story—and done in such a spare way, perfectly, and a short novel—has made me a lot more impatient with writers who are long winded without purpose. 2y
candority @SamAnne Yes, me too! So many books are filled with irrelevant information and repetition. I appreciate authors who can pack a punch in a short amount of time. 2y
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Singout
Nickel Boys | Colson Whitehead
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Pickpick

SUCH a powerful book, based on a true story of a reform school in Florida that housed and abused boys from 1900 to the 70s. This novel centres on the Black youth, showing how racism throws people into such systems and forgets them, but also their creativity and resilience. The treatment and ongoing trauma also parallels what I‘ve heard and read about residential schools for Canadian First Nations children.
#Booked2021 #authorsfirstname

britt_brooke Such a powerful read. Excellent review! 2y
alisiakae Great review! I loved this book. 2y
Cinfhen Beautiful review and such a powerful book. In just over 100 pages CW tells such a memorable story🙌🏻❤️ 2y
Singout Yes, I want to read his other books now. 2y
Come-read-with-me This is an amazing book! 2y
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