Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#35: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Upon the accidental death of his father, a slave child falls in with abolitionist John Brown, becoming an often unwilling witness to history in James McBride's The Good Lord Bird.

With its sometimes comedic first-person narration (with the protagonist as an elderly man looking backwards), vivid real-life historic figures (also including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Jeb Stuart, and Robert E. Lee, among many others) and offbeat takes on historic narratives, McBride's novel reminds me a bit of True Grit and a lot of Little Big Man.  Fans of both of those novels, or even the films, will find a lot to enjoy here.

The Good Lord Bird is on one hand a big, brawling western-flavored story, but on the other filled with small, interesting character interactions--especially how the narrator, Onion, ended up living several years as a little girl and not a little boy, and the towering madness of John Brown.

This was a very enjoyable novel made more so by a very good narration on audio book by Michael Boatman. 

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

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