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A Lesson Before Dying
A Lesson Before Dying
Author: Ernest J. Gaines
Jefferson, a young black, is accused of killing the white owner of a liquor store in a small Cajun Louisiana community in the late 1940s. Although his lawyer argues that such a lowly form of existence is no more capable of premeditated murder than a hog, Jefferson is condemned to death. Grant Wiggins, a black teacher at the plantation school,...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780736626880
ISBN-10: 0736626883
Publication Date: 3/1/1994
Rating:
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Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Other Versions: Paperback, Hardcover, Audio CD
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed A Lesson Before Dying on + 119 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
The rich writing and characterisation reminded me of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' Despite a situation in which a black youth finds himself victimised and a community marginalised the characters find small ways in which to empower themselves. In the story the narrator and main character, Mr Wiggins, and Jefferson, the 'hog', both stand as heroes in different ways in order to give their female relatives something to be proud of. Each is as reluctant as the other to take on this responsibility. This book is both a history lesson and a critique of the justice system and death sentence which has contemporary value. The characters inspire in their sense of community, sense of family and ultimately, their sense of pride as they cope with and negotiate their way through, the hand they have been dealt. The themes of mean spiritedness, racial prejudice, endurance and self-empowerment are as relevant today as they were in the 1940's when the book was set. Its a story and a lesson that stays with you long after the last page has been turned.
reviewed A Lesson Before Dying on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a well written story, along the lines of To Kill a Mocking Bird. It's not a light read--very intense content, but slow moving. It did make me cry at the end which surprised me because I didn't think I was that into the characters--especially the main character. It's a good read for anyone who likes to get a feel for that era and how it felt to be an African American during the 40's.
reviewed A Lesson Before Dying on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Extraordinarily moving, solemn and beautiful. This book both brought me to tears and gave me a whole new perspective on Sundays.
reviewed A Lesson Before Dying on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A book pretty simple in appearance but full of meaning nevertheless.
reviewed A Lesson Before Dying on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Excellent story of injustice in the South in the 1940's. Well developed characters, made me want to read some other books by this writer.
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