NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A LESSON BEFORE DYING

by Ernest J. Gaines



"And that's all we are, Jefferson, all of us on this earth, a piece of drifting wood, until we -- each one of us, individually -- decide to become something else." Grant Wiggins in A Lesson Before Dying (p. 193)

In a small Louisiana town in the late 1940's, Grant Wiggins, the town's teacher for one of the African American schools, is begged by the godmother of Jefferson, an ill-educated, falsely accused, young black man sentenced to die in the electric chair, to help Jefferson face his death as a man and not the "hog" he was called during his trial.

I am speechless. There is not a solitary word I can utter that would properly convey the majesty I felt in this book. I will be reading another novel by this author soon, and perhaps an opportunity to compare the two will provide a cure for my momentary disability. With time and distance I will be better able to analyze my reaction to A Lesson Before Dying, but until then it has earned a place of honor on my personal list of treasured reads.



18 comments:

Anna said...

Wow! What a glowing review! Guess I should add this one to my to-read list. Thanks for the recommendation.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Joy said...

Woo - such high praise! I'm not sure if I have this one or not. If I don't, I'll be keeping my eyes open for it. :)

Amy said...

Well now I feel like I HAVE to read this book, like RIGHT THIS SECOND!!! :) Had never even heard of it before! Thanks Lezlie!

zetor said...

This is added to my tbr list immediately. Sounds like a truly momentous book!

Eva said...

Yay! I just checked this one out from the library! :D

Lynne said...

I loved this book - one of my all time favorites.

Lezlie said...

Anna, Joy, Amy, Zetor & Eva ~ I so hope you all enjoy it as much as I did when/if you read it. It's has been a long, long time since a book made me break down and cry.

Lynne ~ Yay! I was hoping I wasn't being too dramatic when I wrote this last night, but even this morning I can't shake thoughts of this story.

Lezlie

bermudaonion said...

This is in my TBR pile - sounds like I need to get to it soon.

Ladytink_534 said...

I couldn't read something like this without crying alot :(

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ By all means, dig it out quickly! :-)

Ladytink ~ I was sobbing so much during the chapter "Jefferson's Diary" that Skye jumped on the couch, wrapped his paws around my neck and rubbed his head against mine. Which, of course, made me cry all the more. I don't know anyone that could get through this one without at least a few tears.

Lezlie

Joy said...

BTW - I found it on my TBR shelf. :)

Lezlie said...

Joy ~ Excellent! I'll be waiting for your review! ;-)

Lezlie

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Jeepers, Lezlie...you aren't helping my TBR pile here. If you loved this book so much, I'll have to go get it now and read it this month. It sounds extraordinary.

Lezlie said...

Michele ~ It really is amazing. I just ordered three more of his books to see if they are as good.

Lezlie

Teddy Rose said...

Here's a classic that I haven't read yet and knew little about. Thanks for your glowing recommendation.

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ And now that it's been a few days, I would still write a glowing recommendation. :-) I hope you like the book if you read it!

Lezlie

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I loved this book too. And now whenever I see a Gaines book I have to buy it. Have you seen this movie? It was good as well. An Oprah production, I think.

Lezlie said...

Natasha ~ I have not seen the movie. I'm afraid I'd just cry through the whole thing. Have you read any of his other books that you've bought? I have three more here that I'm hoping to get to soon.

Lezlie