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Publisher's Summary

Jefferson is an innocent and unwitting party to a deadly liquor store shoot-out in the 1940s. As the only survivor, he is tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, a university-trained teacher at the plantation school, is persuaded to visit Jefferson in his cell. Wiggins is torn between staying in his native Cajun community or moving on. The 2 men gradually form a bond as they jointly discover the simple heroism of resisting - and denying - the expected.
©1995 Ernest J. Gaines, All Rights Reserved, Abridgment Approved by the Author (P)16 9; 1995 Time Warner AudioBooks and Juneteenth Audio Books, Time Warner AudioBooks Is a Joint Venture of The Atlantic Group and Time Warner Trade Publishing

Critic Reviews

  • An Oprah Book Club selection.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    174
  • 4 Stars
    95
  • 3 Stars
    83
  • 2 Stars
    41
  • 1 Stars
    35

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    128
  • 4 Stars
    66
  • 3 Stars
    43
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    30

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    143
  • 4 Stars
    59
  • 3 Stars
    39
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    27
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amie
  • Houma, LA, United States
  • 02-09-12

Misses the mark

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There is a significant amount of the novel not included in this reading. I was very disappointed that so much is skipped and left out.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Huntsville, AL, USA
  • 04-04-06

Just like the old Sears radio hour

This is too good to be true. I remember long ago listening to the old Sears radio hour and listening to the show while imagining what was happening. This book is very well done.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

diappointed


it helps me to read book..but..
it is not full contents
that makes me sad...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful narration!

The narrator(s) brought the characters emotionally alive and unambiguous. The story is wonderfully written -- tightly woven but the author takes his time so you can get to know the characters. I look for more from this team.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Only has a couple chapters not the whole book.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I'm not fan of reading so I prefer when I GET BOOKS FROM AUDIBLE THAT THEY HAVE THE WHOLE CHAPTERS OF THE BOOKS

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, but skip the audio and get the Kindle.

If you could sum up A Lesson Before Dying in three words, what would they be?

This is a beautiful story. Tragic and breathtaking, but the narration kills it. Jefferson's voice is mealy-mouthed and terrible. He's narrated in a way that is almost condescending, which takes away from the beauty and strength of his character. It might work if the voice changed to match the change in character, but this unfortunately does not happen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Lesson Before Dying?

This entire book was memorable.

What three words best describe Lionel Mark Smith and Roger Guenveur Smith ’s performance?

The one who narrated Jefferson needs to find new work. The person who narrated Grant did a great job. They may be the same person. I didn't actually check who narrated which.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Breathtaking.

Any additional comments?

Just read it. It's amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Groton, CT, USA
  • 11-30-05

An emotionally gripping story...

Skillfully written, deeply emotional, and well worth my time. Very eye opening and exquistely eye-opening. This story unlike anything I had read or heard, but now in retrospect, I am very appreciative of the opportunity to have come across this marvellously written piece of work.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It is not the entire book

This book is absolutely amazing I have nothing at all against it. I downloaded this to help me with reading while I was driving, but I noticed in class discussions that I missed huge parts of the book; that's when I noticed it skips around and deletes chapters from the story. That along with the way Jefferson was voiced makes me not a huge fan of the narration. Sad and amazing book though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incomplete

The book is great. A little slow at first, but it gets really good. However, the audiobook skips over certain paragraphs and even whole chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not the Full book

While reading along to the book I quickly realized that it skips over many paragraphs and chapters.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sonia
  • 12-30-16

A Lesson Before Dying

Very heart felt story beautifully told. Such a sad narrative. I find it difficult to accept that people can judge so unfairly, with devastating consequences. How many innocent people were murdered by the law this way? The journey of the incident right through to the very end is about Jefferson, how his family Nan Nan and everyone is impacted. The defence were right, the murder and robbery was not Jefferson. Not a thing, or a hog but a strong, innocent man with the support of the teacher. Some seriously thought provoking story, told brilliantly. Saddening, true and disgusted by the attitudes and inequalities which should be told to allow anyone to see what happened, what one mans support for another and to prepare him to stand strong and be a man is a difficult journey to hear. The impact and difference one teacher has on Jefferson, provided him with strength and courage with new experiences which helped him.

This should be listened to by everyone, after all no money for the book, or the couple of hours you spare to listen are priceless. The lessons you learn, with your perspective and thoughts challenged and understand why change was needed to allow equality for all. Every one has rights and a voice. Be grateful for this.

Already listening to this again. Beautifully written and narrated and heartbreakingly honest like the book the colour purple.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron
  • 01-28-15

Great but missing information

The book itself is great. I read along as I was listening. Chunks missing from the book from the audio.