Review of 'A lesson before Dying'

Review of 'A lesson before Dying' by Ernest J. Gaines

" I was not there, yet I was there"


Author: Ernest J. Gaines
Pages: 262
Price: Pound 8.99
Publisher: Serpents Tail

In a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, a young black man named Jefferson witnesses a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed. The only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Gaines explores the deep prejudice of the American South in the tradition of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird and Toni Morrison's Beloved. A Lesson Before Dying is a richly compassionate and deeply moving novel, the story of a young black man sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, and a teacher who hopes to ease his burden before the execution.


I had to read this book for school and first I thought I would like it a lot, but sadly I didn’t. So the story itself or rather the thought about it is quite great, but the author made something boring out of it.
So when you think about the fact that a black boy is falsely accused of a robbery and a murder and sentenced to death and then there is a teacher who is supposed to make a man out of him before he dies, it rather sound like a moving story and the beginning of a new great friendship, than something boring.
But that is what it was it for me: boring. I think it was the leak of action and that almost everything is repeated quite often or happens quite similar.
So Grant Wiggins is an average protagonist, nothing special but the author made the best out of it I guess and at some points he surprised me a lot, when he did act in a way I didn’t expect at all, but that doesn’t make the book great.
So I can just recommend it, when you are REALLY interested in the unfair treating of black people because it isn’t one of the spectacular stories but rather one of the common cases that happened a lot then.

Get the book here: Amazon.co.uk
Source of Plot: https://www.hugendubel.de/de/ebook/ernest_j_gaines-a_lesson_before_dying-24362073-produkt-details.html?searchId=665255929

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