Mary's Reviews > No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
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's review
Aug 15, 12

bookshelves: civil-rights, historical-fiction, teen-novel
Read in August, 2012

Historical novel that seems to be more fact than fiction. The author's note explains that a lot of it is fact, but that she filled in the blanks in her research with "informed speculation", which made it a work of fiction. The format of the book is unusual too, as it is told by a lot of different point of views. The book alternates between family members, bookstore customers, and FBI files to tell the whole story of Lewis Michaux, Harlem bookseller. The format works well and does make the book go faster than it might otherwise go--perfect for reluctant readers. Interspersed throughout the book are black and white photographs from event's in Michaux's life. Although it didn't pertain directly to Lewis's life, I was curious as to why the last name was changed to Micheaux before the author, the great neice of Lewis Michaux wrote her story.
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