Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2019
Having lived in Florida in my younger years (age 11 to 13), and witnessing first hand the treatment of the blacks, this brought back memories of long ago. Not the beatings per se but the white only drinking fountains, the KKK in their trucks on Merritt Island on Saturday nights, not being able to use the phone to call a cab at the A & P, and the overall daily discrimination toward the blacks. I am in my 70's now and I still remember those days as if they were yesterday.
This novel is powerful and poignant. The beatings and the abuse these young men suffered at the Nickel Academy were absolutely horrendous. Just think this Academy was in existence for 111 years...Wow...just wow.
Elwood Curtis was a Frenchtown boy and was sent to the Nickel Academy for allegedly stealing a car. There were 4 different ranks - Grub, Explorer, Pioneer and Ace. When the rank of Ace was attained, it meant graduation for the young man. If only one could make it that far...
Beatings were done at the White House and the advice given to Elwood was ' best not to move'. Black Beauty was the implement which was a strap with a wooden handle. And, abuse was prevalent on so many different levels. Made me absolutely sick to my stomach to read some of these incidents.
Just amazing to read this novel and it certainly aroused my empathy....and sadness and left my heart broken for these poor young boys. Equally sad to me was the fact that 7 of the bodies found were never identified.
The skills of the author are unparalleled in evoking the feeling that the reader is indeed present in their lives at the Academy. Clear, concise writing and just plain outstanding.
Most highly recommended and for multiple reasons. A must read, in my opinion, for anyone interested in this dark era. Although this is a novel, it certainly reads as though it is true.
This should have a Verified Purchase on it. Will check with Amazon to see why it doesn't. VP is there this AM. Thank you, Amazon...