Reviews tagging Rape

The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead

32 reviews

reading_rainbow_with_chris's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

 
“The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead
A young Black boy, bright and eager to take on the world, is captured by police and sent to the Nickel Academy on a misunderstanding and a miscarriage of justice. Although Nickel sells itself as a reformatory school, the truth for Black boys is far darker. Colson Whitehead has crafted here a searing novel which draws attention to the racism inherent to institutions, the deeply ingrained physical and psychological violence of racist prison logic regardless of what the specific institution and buildings are known as. I found this to be an engrossing novel which translated well to audiobook format and will leave me pondering the state of “post-racism” America for quite some time. My one concern is that I did not feel emotionally engaged with this novel. It was startling, thought-provoking, and crafted to perfection. Yet I did feel as if I was being kept at an arm’s length, as if Whitehead wanted us to maintain a critical distance. It was a highly effective book regardless of this distance. I highly recommend this book, though it certainly does not need my endorsement as it has become in the short time since its publication a modern classic. 

 

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bigraymond's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional sad tense medium-paced

5.0


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ellalucys's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0


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surefinewhatever_'s review against another edition

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dark emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

I’m still processing my thoughts & feelings regarding this book. Colson Whitehead is a master at his craft and writes such horrible scenes so beautifully. There was a moment near the end where my jaw dropped and tears filled my eyes. Not to mention that I think this novel had the best first line I’ve ever read, stating “Even in death the boys were trouble.”  Be sure to check out the long list of content warnings before reading.

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julesloyola's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes

4.0


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lkbooks's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0


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evanmcomer's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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ladysanctuary's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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theliteraryphoenix's review

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dark emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

The Nickel School (also known as The Florida School for Boys) was a reform school that opened in 1900 and wasn’t entirely disbanded until 2011.  For 111 years, this “school” allowed the perpetuation of rape, abuse, and murder.  It wasn’t until 2012 that an anthropological study was done at the site and its darkest secrets confirmed.  Knowing that The Nickel Boys draws on a true story makes this novel even more haunting.

Whitehead tells the story of Nickel school and the boys who went there through the eyes of Elwood, a fictional character and a Black “student”.  Through The Nickel Boys, readers see Elwood’s travails as well as those of his peers and the boys that came before.  From the beginning the reader knows it will be a harrowing tale when human remains are found in an archaeological dig.

The Nickel Boys manages to be a story about both an individual’s trials to overcome the oppression of a racist institution but also the greater problems of unfair incarceration, the corruption of private institutions, and the unfortunate roles race and class play into both of those.  This book will make you angry with the world and sad for the character and angry again.  It is another book about Black pain and trauma, but it’s a different shade of that ongoing story and an important perspective to have.

Be prepared to read The Nickel Boys slowly.  There are time jumps that may throw the reader off, but each segment and each story is an important slice of the story.  More than the writing style or the pacing – both of which are impeccable – The Nickel Boys has heavy themes and the story is devastating.  It’s a beautiful, sad, and necessary story to read and one I recommend with all my heart.

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bookishyvonne's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

 
Colson Whitehead schafft es mit “Die Nickel Boys” so viel Wut, Fassungslosigkeit und Verzweiflung zu vermitteln und hervorzurufen. Die ganze Zeit über war ich beim Lesen angespannt gewesen, denn uff. Was für ein heftiges Buch.
⚠️ [CN: anti-Schwarzer Rassismus, Blut, Folter, Gewalt, N-Wort, Mord, Sexismus, sexualisierte Gewalt]
Der Großteil von “Die Nickel Boys” spielt in Florida in den sechziger Jahren, als Menschen noch nach ihrer “Rasse” getrennt wurden. Der 16-jährige Elwood ist ein großer Fan von M.L. King und freut sich darauf aufs College zu gehen, insbesondere da die Chancen für ihn als Schwarzen Jungen schlecht stehen. Doch so kommt es leider nicht, denn Elwood hat sich per Anhalter auf dem Weg zum College gemacht, ohne zu wissen, dass er sich in einem gestohlenen Wagen befindet. Anstatt aufs College zu gehen, kommt er also in die Besserungsanstalt Nickel Academy. 
Durch Elwood erleben wir mit, wie grausam es an der Nickel Academy zuging und wie viel besser die weißen Jungs behandelt wurden. Bessere Kleidung, bessere Bildung, besseres Essen. An solch einem rassistischen Ort, der die Jungs gar nicht wirklich “bessert”, haben es die Schwarzen Jungs noch schwerer. 
Nachdem ich das Buch beendet hatte, habe ich erstmal nur vor mich hingestarrt und musste tief ein- und ausatmen. Ich war einfach so sprachlos und wütend. Gleichzeitig wusste ich gar nicht, wohin mit meinen Emotionen. Das Schlimmste ist, dass es nicht einfach nur Fiktion war, denn die Geschichte wurde von wahren Begebenheiten inspiriert. Whitehead erzeugt ein unangenehmes Ohnmachtsgefühl durch das Porträtieren solch großer Ungerechtigkeit. Dabei ist der Schreibstil schon fast... distanziert und kühl? Doch genau das fand ich gut, weil ich nicht das Gefühl hatte, als ob die Traumata der Jungs glorifiziert oder romantisiert werden.
Es wird auch hin und wieder impliziert bzw. erwähnt, dass die Jungs sexualisierte Gewalt erleben, aber es wird nicht näher darauf eingegangen. Das ist aber auch nicht notwendig, denn die körperlichen Bestrafungen sind erschütternd genug. 
Von meiner Seite aus: große Leseempfehlung an alle, die mehr zur Schwarzen Geschichte in den USA lesen und/oder generell sich mit Rassismus beschäftigen möchten. Das Einzige, was mich an der deutschen Übersetzung gestört hat, war, dass “Schwarz” kleingeschrieben wurde. Ja, die Selbstbezeichnung ist relativ neu, aber die Großschreibung hätte gezeigt, dass es sich nicht lediglich um die Hautfarbe handelt, sondern um die soziale Positionierung und wie andere Schwarze Menschen wahrnehmen.

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