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The Good Lord Bird (2013)

de James McBride

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,5251008,755 (3.89)177
Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive.… (més)
  1. 10
    Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All de Allan Gurganus (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar style and time period
  2. 21
    The Sisters Brothers de Patrick deWitt (starfishian)
    starfishian: Another historical romp. Fun to read.
  3. 00
    Flashman and the Angel of the Lord de George MacDonald Fraser (Lirmac)
    Lirmac: Another fictionalised account of John Brown and Harper's Ferry.
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» Mira també 177 mencions

Anglès (99)  Pirata (1)  Alemany (1)  Totes les llengües (101)
Es mostren 1-5 de 101 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This book was way funnier than I expected it to be, which made it a real joy overall to read. I had to keep reminding myself throughout the book that this is a work of fiction, and from the get-go I realized that I am going to have to do a lot more reading about John Brown's life than I ever learned in school. My two main quibbles are that it was difficult to keep track of all the people coming and going from John Brown's army and that the middle section kind of mucked with the pacing. Otherwise, I am so excited to help host this book as a community read this summer for my library. It will make for some fascinating conversations. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
With The Good Lord Bird James McBride has written an interesting and often humorous fictional account of John Brown's escapades from the days of "Burning Kansas" to his demise at Harpers Ferry.

The unlikely narrator of the events chronicled in this novel, those leading up to Brown’s quixotic raid at Harpers Ferry, is Henry Shackleford, aka Little Onion, whose father is killed while Brown is in the process of liberating some slaves. Brown takes the 12-year-old away thinking he’s a girl, and Onion keeps up the disguise for the next few years. Onion, while sounding like a typical 12-year-old often makes observations that belie his age, and his fluidity of gender identity allows him a certain leeway in his life. He comments: "I weren't for being a girl, mind you. But there was certain advantages, like not having to lift nothing heavy, and not having to carry a pistol or rifle, and fellers admiring you for being tough as a boy . . ."(p 78)

And in another episode he gets taken in by Pie, a beautiful prostitute, where he witnesses some activity almost more unseemly than a 12-year-old should have to stand. The interlude with Pie occurs during a two-year period where Brown disappears from Onion’s life, but they’re reunited a few months before the debacle at Harpers Ferry. In that time, Brown visits Frederick Douglass, and, in the most implausible scene in the novel, Douglass drinks a bit too much and chases after the nubile Onion.

The stakes are raised as Brown approaches October 1859, for even Onion recognizes the futility of the raid, where Brown expects hundreds of slaves to rise in revolt and gets only a handful. Onion notes that Brown’s fanaticism increasingly approaches “lunacy” as the time for the raid gets closer, and Brown never loses that obsessive glint in his eye that tells him he’s doing the Lord’s work. At the end, Onion reasserts his identity as a male and escapes just before Brown’s execution.

The book works as an exercise in point of view and has some memorable vignettes of Brown's escapades while continually emphasizing an obsession that almost borders on lunacy. John Brown was definitely not a nice man and it was not surprising that in spite of, or perhaps because of his reputation, he was not joined by the masses of black supporters that he expected when he attempted his epic raid. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 4, 2021 |
story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1856--a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces--when legendary abolitionist John Brown arrives. When an argument between Brown and Henry's master turns violent, Henry is forced to leave town--along with Brown, who believes Henry to be a girl and his good luck charm.

Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity to stay alive. Eventually Brown sweeps him into the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.
  Gmomaj | Dec 30, 2020 |
Enjoyable book once you plow through the first section. Not sure I'd recommend it unless someone is really interested in John Brown. ( )
  3CatMom | Dec 28, 2020 |
"The Good Lord Bird," according to MrBride's John Brown "don't run in a flock. He flies alone ... searching ... looking for the right tree... that dead tree that's taking all the nutrition and good things from the forest floor. He goes out and he gnaws at it ... until that thing gets tired and falls down. And the dirt from it raises the other trees .. It makes 'em strong. Gives 'em life. And the circle goes 'round." The bird first appears in the novel when Frederick Brown, the armed to the teeth simple son, points it out to Onion. "that's an angel. They say a feather from a Good Lord Bird'll bring you understanding that'll last your whole life." When Frederick inadvertently kills one, it portends his death. The feathers of this bird, of which Brown has had and has given to others including the character, Onion, are emblematic of the grace which Brown believes will one day free America's slaves.
"The Good Lord Bird" is soul rending. Captured by McBride to live the events leading up to and during John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry as Onion, an escaped enslaved child, the reader suffers the forlorn hope of the downtrodden. Until "far away ... on the plaza where the Old Man was to hang ... a strange black-and-white bird circled 'round, looking for a tree to roost on, a bad tree ...so he could alight upon it and get busy, so that it would someday fall and feed the others."
  RonWelton | Dec 5, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 101 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The book appears to be very random, as though the author and his editor had failed to spot that there are a troublesome number of repetitions and inconsistencies. Brown’s endless praying seems to be a comedic line that McBride has overinvested in.... McBride’s other running joke is that most of the slaves have not the slightest interest in being liberated.... Onion, although occupying hundreds of pages, is never interesting or even fully realised.... After the inevitable tragedy of Harper’s Ferry..., Onion finds his way to Philadelphia and freedom. Unexpectedly, this final section of the book really takes wing and almost redeems what I think is a missed opportunity.
 
...unpretentious, very funny, and totally endearing.... Still, any comic novel about such a calamitous time is a daring conceit, which in the wrong hands could go painfully wrong. McBride’s America feels huge, chaotic, and very much in formation.... Comparisons to Twain are inevitable, particularly given McBride’s use of vernacular.... But the raucous joy of traveling with Brown and his army also recalls Chaucer and Boccaccio. Brown may not be a polished hero, but he’s certainly an entertaining one, particularly with his band of not-so-merry men and one spunky, cross-dressing kid in tow.
 
This is a story that popular culture doesn't often visit, and it takes a daring writer to tackle a decidedly unflattering pre-Civil War story. Yet, in McBride's capable hands, the indelicate matter of a befuddled tween from the mid-19th century provides a new perspective on one of the most decisive periods in the history of this country.
afegit per Muscogulus | editaNPR, Bobbi Booker (Aug 23, 2013)
 
In McBride’s version of events, John Brown’s body doesn’t lie a-mouldering in the grave—he’s alive and vigorous and fanatical and doomed, so one could say his soul does indeed go marching on.... McBride presents an interesting experiment in point of view here, as all of Brown’s activities are filtered through the eyes of a young adolescent who wavers between innocence and cynicism.
afegit per Muscogulus | editaKirkus Reviews (Aug 20, 2013)
 
There is something deeply humane in this, something akin to the work of Homer or Mark Twain. We tend to forget that history is all too often made by fallible beings who make mistakes, calculate badly, love blindly and want too much. We forget, too, that real life presents utterly human heroes with far more contingency than history books can offer. McBride’s Little Onion — a sparkling narrator who is sure to win new life on the silver screen — leads us through history’s dark corridors, suggesting that “truths” may actually lie elsewhere.
afegit per zhejw | editaWashington Post, Marie Arana (Aug 19, 2013)
 

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James McBrideautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Boatman, MichaelReaderautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Prologue: 
Rare Negro Papers Found
by A.J. Watson
Wilmington, Del. (AP)
June 14, 1966
A fire that destroyed the city's oldest Negro church has led to the discovery of a wild slave narrative that highlights a little-known era of American history

Chapter 1:
I was born a colored man and don't you forget it.
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"Being a Negro’s a lie, anyway. Nobody sees the real you. Nobody knows who you are inside. You just judged on what you are on the outside whatever your color. Mulatto, colored, black, it don’t matter. You just a Negro to the world."
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Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he's a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive.

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