Book Review of A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying
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"A Lesson Before Dying" is deeply touching. I feel this book should be required reading for high school level students. I was a little surprised that it is part of Oprah's Book Club as it does not seem to fit the typical tone of Oprah books; however, it is still clearly a very high-quality piece of literature that deserves much recognition.

My overall impression of this book began a little shaky - I do not read a lot of historical fiction, and unfortunately I began this novel without much knowledge of the life and times in this era (late 1940's) for African Americans in Louisiana, but I am proud to say I learned a lot from this story - both historical facts and emotional undertones alike. The book is written in first person perspective from the main character, Grant Wiggins, who is an African American school teacher for the local plantation church school. Through his eyes you will be taken on his journey toward self-discovery as he and his community come to terms and deal with the impending execution of a falsely-accused young Black man. This story will bring you through all spectrums of emotion - from anger, to love, and quite possibly on to the verge of tears in the last few chapters.

I began this story just so I could add it to my list of Oprah Book Club reads. I finished this story with a deep appreciation to Mr. Ernest Gaines for bringing me to a much clearer understanding of this place in civil rights history and a strong emotional connection to a story that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.