The Good Lord Bird (James McBride)

Article by keaton

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The Good Lord Bird: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 5th, 2014

With THE GOOD LORD BIRD, James McBride has given us the rare novel that manages to be hilarious while simultaneously addressing important historical and social questions. The book is narrated by Henry “The Onion” Shackleford--a young slave boy swept up in John Brown’s ill-fated crusade against slavery and forced by circumstance to masquerade as a girl for a number of years. McBride portrays Brown as a clueless, if dedicated, zealot bumbling toward infamy. His prayers put his followers to sleep and his battles, while bloody, often become slapstick affairs. But for every gut-busting scene of frightened slaves running away from Brown as he tries to liberate them and for every genderbending antic undertaken by Onion as he tries to keep up his charade while living in a brothel, McBride attacks a dizzying array of difficult questions about identity, belief and morality. Not since Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN has an author been able to so effectively balance the ludicrous and the serious. This is a marvelous book, a page-turner you’ll want to savor. And like McBride’s memoir THE COLOR OF WATER, THE GOOD LORD BIRD is destined to become a contemporary classic.

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