What I’m Reading: Summer School Edition

28 Jun

A Lesson Before DyingA Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was on a few of my summer reading lists back in school, but I always passed it over for something like Jane Eyre or Great Expectations..you know, something with a romantic heroine. Who wants to read about an innocent man on death row? Yikesamole, I thought. Also, I had read The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman in 8th grade and talk about dying–of boredom (what can I say? I was 13). But when I saw A Lesson Before Dying on the free books shelf at my local library, I thought maybe I could appreciate it now as a more seasoned reader. And boy did I!

It’s a superb book. I would actually give it 4 1/2 stars. I subtracted half a star only because I found the turnaround of Jefferson a little too abrupt to be totally believable (it takes place basically in one speech). I know as a millennial white girl I can’t really say this with true authority, but the situational drama and emotional life of the characters struck me as real, real, real. All without being too heavy-handed with the hopelessness of the whole affair. An enjoyable, smart read by a great author. I might even give Miss Pittman another go!

(This review first appeared on goodreads.com).

View all my reviews

 

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