National Book Award, Fiction, 2013
From the best-selling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the 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 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. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at 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.
©2013 James McBride (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks
Loved it. Worth the listen. Outstanding vocalizations, and bark out loud funny at times. Please listen and push on your friends.
It was a great book but it was a little disconcerting to listen to and hear the speaker use certain words I cannot hear without cringing a little. Reading it would help deal better with the voice in my head for a young boy instead of an adult man. A very good book that gives a different look into an odd mans place in history we don't usually get.
Michael Boatman is a fantastic narrator, and James McBride wrote a very entertaining, touching book. I honestly did not listen to it for any historical fact, just listened for the pure pleasure of a well-written, well-told story.
I am a mail carrier & I go through a book in one day
I enjoyed the humor in the book, it wasn't like other slavery books that sometimes leave you upset or sad. Though there where some ill moments, I still enjoyed it.
I love to read and listen to books.
As far as reading it, I don't know how that would be, but listening to it was great. At times I'd laugh so hard I would cry. The narrator was awesome.
Fantastic performance by Michael Boatman. Wonderful, colorful story based on factual history but probably embelished.
with reservations. I like historical fiction. In this book, I think the author went beyond the point of credibility. I think the author got caught up in trying to cover too many themes.
narrator was fine
no. The story is over.
I am not sure after reading this book what was real and what was created for the story.
Like some other reviewers, I was exhausted by the narrator's loud, overacted voice. I had been looking forward to this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed McBride's memoir, The Color of Water. But this book is too long for a pretty shallow plot. I know that I will avoid books narrated by Michael Boatman in future.
Top rung. I always enjoy Michael Boatman's performances. His voice is both entertaining and really captures the time, locales, dialects. I really liked his John Brown voice. I selected this book because I had heard about it since it won the National Book Award. Michael Boatman was a pleasant surprise.
So many lines, like "no more than a hog know'd a holiday" reminded me of characters I have known, expressions that are both dated and down home, depending on where home is.
His voice of the John Brown character was over the top, which is apropos for a character as extreme and passionate in his religious fervor as the "Old Man" Brown.
The Onion. He's a slave child who says he lived a comfortable life until an encounter with John Brown got his father killed and him captured by Brown who was hell bent on freeing the slaves. On the road with Brown, he meets Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Jeb Stuart before surviving the raid at Harpers Ferry. The Onion is too flawed to be a hero and too savvy to be a victim. He's an undeserving coward who disrespects people and God, but whose brave spiritual awakening is the only point of the whole adventure. And yes, he dressed like a girl for several years just to save his "arse", and he had everyone mostly fooled.
Surely the details of the protagonist's experiences seem over the top and too fictionalized for a historical novel. Instead, regard this as an entertaining yarn with a historical foundation rather than an historical novel with a haughty air of authenticity. If you want your history uncut, go with Doris Kearns Goodwin. If you want to have fun with the brutal John Brown Raid, the unspeakable degradation of American slavery and the run-up to the bloody US Civil War, "The Good Lord Bird" is a good choice. Thanks, James McBride and Michael Boatman!
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