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Julie

I am in two book clubs, one for science fiction and the other eclectic (current fiction/nonfiction, classics, poetry). Here on Audible, I post reviews of the Audible books I have listened to, which tend to be for my book clubs. I also purchase Audible books for when I am on long car rides with my husband. Those books tend to be nonfiction. To read my reviews of non-audio books, friend me on GoodReads @ Julie Capell.

Milwaukee, WI, United States | Member Since 2007

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  • Native Son

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Richard Wright
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (116)

    Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.

    Noah says: "Simply a classic"
    "Listen to this while you read Erasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Try this for a great combo: Listen to Native Son as an audio book while simultaneously reading Percival Everett’s Erasure. Even though the books are set fifty years apart, and some things have changed profoundly in this country in the intervening years in terms of race relations, I was astounded at how much has not changed. The protagonists of the two books are both black men in America. Native Son’s Bigger Thomas is an uneducated, poor, thuggish young man trying to get by in the segregated Chicago of the 1940s. Erasure’s protagonist, Monk Ellison, (note to self: re-read Ellison’s Invisible Man next) is a current-day university professor from a wealthy family that gave him every advantage imaginable. Despite these surface differences, both men’s lives are severely limited by the strictures and expectations placed on them by their respective time periods. And although Native Son was overlong and preachy, I found that the injustices depicted in the book echoed in Erasure, as they do in the everyday lives of many Black Americans. African American males still have much higher rates of unemployment than any other group of Americans—worse even than the employment rate of white felons. Black males in America are less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be arrested, and more likely to go to prison. Native Son lays these and other injustices bare . . . if only we could say we had erased these problems in the years since it was written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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