John Rivera's Reviews > If He Hollers Let Him Go

If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes
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's review
Sep 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from September 26 to October 10, 2011

This is a painful book to read and it's especially hard to like a protagonist who seemingly goes out of his way to get himself into trouble. Nevertheless, you can't but help feel sorry for him because of his environment and all of the obstacles he faces throughout this novel.

One can read authors like Linda Gilmore, Thomas Sugrue, Mary Dudziak, Joesph Crispino, and others until the cows come home; and one can build with their works a strong appreciation for how difficult life was for African Americans in the 1940s regardless of their geographical location in the Unites States. But what Himes has done with this excellent piece of fiction that historians cannot do is allow the reader to feel the psychological hardships African Americans endured by putting this small piece of history into a story about one man and how those times made him feel.

There are also some interesting chapters that put an emotional angle on unionism and labor rights during the 1940s, as well as the divisions amongst African Americas as to how to best win their rights. All in all, this is a great book for casual readers of fiction and students of a wide range of historical fields of twentieth century American history. The story itself is far from being a literary masterpiece, but the emotions it evokes make this novel exceptional work all in its own.

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