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Life Is So Good

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  5,259 ratings  ·  925 reviews
One man’s extraordinary journey through the twentieth century and how he learned to read at age 98
“Things will be all right. People need to hear that. Life is good, just as it is. There isn’t anything I would change about my life.”—George Dawson
In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a slave’s grandson who learned to read at age 98 and lived to the age of 103, reflects
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2000)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,259 ratings  ·  925 reviews

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I give this book five stars for being much more than a historically correct well-research book. It is none of that. But it is the story of an ordinary quiet man, Mr. George Dawson, who is living proof of what the world should be about and he did it all in his humble stride to serve as an inspiration to millions of people. Besides, it is a true story.

LIFE IS SO GOOD - George Dawson & Richard Glaubman

Richard Glaubman said this about starting the book:
"I have come to record a life of hardship and w
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm re-reading this book. I read it 2 yrs ago.I'm needing a pick-me-up book now, and I know this one will do the job. I hope I like it as much this time as the first time I read this.
Andrew Lasher
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Life Is So Good is a book that everyone deserves to read. It is a feel good journey through the life of George Dawson, an amazing man who learned to read at the age of 98. While most feel good novels give me a sick feeling in my stomach, this one is free of the saccharine.

The book gives us an honest look at what happened to George Dawson through a century of life, and not all of it was good. What makes this book different from others is that it doesn't focus on the good parts. We get an honest
Jul 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A library patron recommended this to me. I hope to see her again soon, so I can thank her. This is such an inspirational book, I've recommended it to several more people. George Dawson was a simple man with an awesome attitude. The book is written in a coversational way. I felt like I was sitting in his livingroom listening to a grandparent. He had so many wonderful stories to tell, but above all teaches that us working hard and staying positive is the way to enjoy life-- because after all--what ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was terrible. There were VERY few redeeming characteristics for me to take away from this book. In a way though, I can almost understand why so many reviewers (all of whom were White) liked this biography so much. After all, he WAS on Oprah. And he’s so agreeable, quiet and docile which paved the way for him to survive for over 100 years. The book is technically an autobiography but there is a disconnection between the story of this man’s life and how the story is told. The co-author s ...more
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a life story. Years 1898- 2001 through the eyes of a colored man who lived through it all and came out being thankful instead of resentful. Very inspirational... this should be a required read for every high school student.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The old man who learned to read has touched the hearts of people who read about him."

Following Mr. George Dawson through his life experiences that spanned over three centuries was quite an unforgettable journey! I feel honored to have been given this opportunity and only wished I’d have encountered his story much sooner.

From the very beginning, you realize this is the type of story that promises you part from it with some life lessons, a deeper look into humanity, and flashbacks of crucial mome
Louise at The Reading Experiment
Sometimes, the people with the least in life actually have the most.

If you loved Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, you will enjoy Life Is So Good.

It is the inspiring and heart-warming memoir of George Dawson.

Who? I hear you ask.

George Dawson is a seemingly ordinary 101 year-old man. If you haven’t read this book, you’ve probably never heard of him. That’s a pity, because George is quite remarkable.

He was born into poverty in 1898, the grandson of slaves. He grew up in the deep south of Ameri
Jocelyn Green
A short read, and thoroughly uplifting. I loved hearing George Dawson's experiences over the century of his life, and his gratitude-infused perspective. A worthwhile memoir.
Lisa N
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really drawn to this book--I grew up in the south after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and my grandfather never learned to read.

This is the memoir of George Dawson, grandson of slaves, who enrolled in a literacy program and learned to read when he was 98 years old. I became emotionally invested in this book on the first page. Ten-year-old George goes to town with his father, hoping to get a piece of stick candy, and ends up witnessing a lynching.

It was very eye-opening to he
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book of personal insight and truth from some one who had lived through decades of amazing history. Eventho, some of the chapters jump around a bit, it keeps you intriged to find out what happens next. George is an inspiration to everyone he was born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas the grandson of slaves and he tells how his father, despite hardships, always believed in seeing the richness of life and trained his children to do the same.. What makes a happy person, have a happy life? This r ...more
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social, autobiography
George Dawson was what every person to strive to be. He was humble, intelligent, diligent, hard working, compassionate, savvy. He never quit. He saw the world through his logical eyes, from the perspective of a Black man from East Texas who was born in 1898. He was fine letting things be the way they are and seemed to know when it was time to try and change things a little. He was adventuresome. Always. Again, he never stopped, never quit trying new things, never quit learning. How he lived to 1 ...more
In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's descript ...more
Kara Belden
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my... what powerful, feel good messages at the end! I cried. Just what I needed today. ♥️
I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars. It is interesting... but not riveting. His overly simplistic lifestyle has brought him much happiness because he doesn't think long term or stress about anything. In fact, he lives day to day in all respects. Very few people could maintain a lifestyle where they work to merely have enough money to get by each day.

I will say that it was fascinating to hear about major points in American history from the first person perspective of an African American man. He has c
Kathleen Payne
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Kathleen by: Christi
This was probably one of the best books I have read in my entire life. When I finished reading it, I could have turned around and read it again, except I had other books on my night stand that required my attention.

During the Civil Rights era in S.F. CA, I grew up next door to a wonderful black man, Art Lyons who was our "adopted grandpa". Art was born in the late 1800's and he couldn't read or write and probably only had a 4th grade education. During his lifetime he had a wealth of experiences
Gail Holm
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the mind-boggling story of a black man born into the Jim Crow South who learned to read when he was 98 years old. His life touched three centuries. His memories, experiences and perspective on life make this book a fascinating read, although the style is a little awkward. The narrative is supposedly in Dawson's own words, but was written down by a white man who became interested in Dawson's life. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was inspired by the George Dawson's characte ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As mentioned in previous reviews, I'm fascinated by racism in America. I'm baffled at the compulsion to place value on the color of one's skin. So when I read about George and his life which spans the turn of the 20th century, the Jim-crow era through the civil rights movement, to OJ Simpson, I'm amazed at how little really changes for George as he describes his life memories. His simple style of facing life one day and one odd job at a time breathes of a by-gone era and of a gentle and grateful ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many lessons to be learned in this book. George Dawson, whose grandfather was a slave, looked at the positive side of life from the time of his birth in 1898 until his death in 2001. He lived his life without hate or regret. He viewed many changes, from hate and segregation for 69 years to learning to read at 98 years old. As he said "Life is so good and it gets better every day".

I strongly recommend this book.
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It all seems so simple to hear George Dawson tell it. Don't worry so much. Stay busy. Work hard. Be honest. Don't hold grudges. Love your family. Eat what you want. Be a good person.
I took a long time reading this book and I'll miss George now that I'm done. I'm so glad I got to meet him, if only through Richard Glaubman.
Oct 05, 2008 marked it as recommended  ·  review of another edition
Mary Alice says, "Well, all,this a book worth reading. This is such a charming book. I would have loved to have met this man--would have been a blast to hear him tell his stories. If he was still living, I would put him in my dissertation. Maybe I still will. :)Peace, MAM"

Jon Nakapalau
George Dawson learned to read at age 98 - an inspiration for all us - but in particular those who struggle with reading comprehension. Heartfelt and uplifting...if you have a teenager who does not like reading give them this book.
John Dobbs
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I have so many books I want to read that when a friend gives me a book to read, I am usually reluctant. It's true I was this time also. But I trusted the friend and began to read. I'm so glad I did.

Richard Glaubman, an elementary school teacher in Washington State, was reading the newspaper at his table when he ran across a story of a man who learned to read at age 98. He told his class about this man and they had lots of questions. So he decided to call George Dawson, and that set in motion th
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best book I have read so far this year. I got this as a gift from my friend, Kim. I could see instantly why she liked it. You fall in love with George's sweet spirit immediately, and root for him all the way until the end. What a great example of endurance and positivity.

Lines I loved:

She took a genuine interest in the story at a time when a discouraging word would have had immense power.

When the cabin was still dark, I did love to just look into the fire. It warmed me inside and out
Raymond C.
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VLife Is So Good
By: George Dawson
272 pages

Life Is So Good is about the life of an African-American who learned to read at the age of 98. In the beginning of the book, George recalls when he was a young boy when he witnessed the lynching of Pete. Pete was accused of impregnating a white girl by the white folk of Marshall, Texas. After 6 months, when the white girl that Pete was accused of impregnating gave birth, it turned out to be a white boy, but no one payed attention to that. Wh
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply written in his own voice, "Life is Good" is the life story of a 103-year-old black man who endured segregation and prejudice, yet throughout it all, recognized the good in life. The co-author, Richard Glaubman, who helped him write his story said, "I was looking to give you a chance to voice your anger. . ." and George Dawson responded "Except that I don't have any anger." Glaubman responded, "I had come to record a life of hardship and was not prepared to hear of gratitude." p.252

His sim
Mel Ostrov
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
103 Years of Wisdom

George Dawson was truly an amazing person -- not only because this grandson of a slave led a full, happy life to the wondrous age of 103, but also for always retaining a remarkable personal attitude that allowed him to withstand all offensive challenges. He was able to create a fulfilling existence even while completely illiterate up to age 98, when he began a successful course of reading and writing. The fact that his mother died at age 100 suggests that his longevity coul
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an uplifting and historically-educational book. Despite the many injustices the author has endured throughout his life, he has always maintained a positive attitude that undoubtedly contributed to his longevity. His priorities were usually high and correct, his aspirations much the same. I enjoyed his appreciation for family, animals, and for the most part, other people, even if they were not tolerant of him. I love that he was brought up so well by parents of love, hard work and hope, w ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
George Dawson is more than 100 years old as he reflects back on his life. He worked on his family’s farm at an incredibly young age. At 12 he was sent to live on another farm so he could help make money to support his family. He has such a sincere and wonderful view of life. The man who wrote the book with him, Glaubman, has “book learning,” but he doesn’t know everything George knows about the way the world works, etc.

He always wanted to learn how to read, but instead he worked so his younger
"Some men were still holding Pete tight from behind so that he couldn't even budge. But if Pete knew he was gonna die, the fear had left his face. Though Pete was just a boy, he must of been four to five inches taller than Norris. He just looked down at Norris, looked him in the eye. Most always we was supposed to look down at the ground when a white man was talking, and this seemed to set Norris off even more."

George Dawson was 101 years old when, together with Richard Glaubman, he agreed to
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

George Dawson was called "America's favorite poster child for literacy" after learning to read at the age of 98. Dawson was a grandson and great-grandson of African-American slaves. After turning 21, he traveled extensively throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico; in 1928, after nine years of travel and work, he r

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“Life is so good, and it gets better every day.” 16 likes
“Children killing children. That's a terrible thing."
"What do you think has gone wrong?"
"It's not just the children. It's the grown-ups too. Some people are growing children, not raising children, and there's a big difference."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, people grow hogs. You give them a place to live, give them all the food they need to keep growing, and make sure that they don't get sick on you. With children you got to raise them. Of course, you feed and clothe them. But a parent has to take the time to teach them right and wrong. A parent has to discipline them. And a parent got to be there to listen to them, help them with their problems. I think most people do their best, but there are some parents these days that are growing children, not raising children.
"It's a sad thing. These children have everything they need to grow up, but they are missing something inside. They must hurt awful bad and no one has shown them the way to live. Buying them their food or even fancy clothes or a car ain't going to help if a child is hurting inside. We all need the same things.”
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