Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

imageA Lesson Before Dying, is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s.  Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach.  As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death.  In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

I had to read this book for class, so generally I had apprehensions about if I would like it or not. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed A Lesson Before Dying. It is impeccably well written. Though this is a simple story, it packs a big punch. Though I only read a few pages of it a day, I found myself always thinking about it.

Gant is an amazing character and watching him grow throughout the story was really interesting. I loved how he transformed from someone who see’s his life as dim to someone who’s excited about his future.

A Lesson Before Dying was an incredibly amazing novel. Both the story and the characters are extremely well written. I recommend A Lesson Before Dying, even if you aren’t into adult books.


We Heart YA said...

Thanks for reviewing an older classic. We've heard this title a million times, but honestly we never knew what it was about. It sounds like something we would really enjoy.

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