Trish's Reviews > A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
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's review
Sep 22, 2007

it was amazing
Recommended for: Everyone

I still think about this book, even after reading it months ago. It’s a very simple story about two African-American men in 1940s Louisiana; one is a teacher and the other is a uneducated man waiting to be executed for a murder he witnessed, but didn’t commit. Both of them have given up hope for their lives, and for humanity in general. They live by the rules of the white majority, and both face a bleak future that’s beyond their ability to change. They are forced to spend time together, and eventually, they end up teaching each other how noble they are, and how precious life is. I won't lie; it's a very sad book, so you should read it with a box of Kleenex nearby. But it's not tragic. There's a great message that you'll carry away from it.
I still believe that To Kill a Mockingbird is the best American novel, but A Lesson Before Dying now ranks in my top three. So read it, and not just because it’s a profound examination of racial, gender, and religious issues. Read it as an appreciation of what the human soul can achieve, even in the smallest spaces. If you get to the line, “Tell Nannan I walked” and you don’t get choked up, you should check your pulse.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
September 22, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Ron (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ron Wallace Nucely said! It is an incredibly moving work.

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