The Good Lord Bird Wins National Book Award
January 13, 2014
I had just started reading James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird when I heard it had won The National Book Award. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this because I had enjoyed the book from the beginning. The story centers on Henry, a child slave who is sort of “abducted” by abolitionist John Brown when Henry’s father is killed in a skirmish between Brown and Henry’s owner. Brown thinks Henry is a girl, partly due to the sackcloth he’s wearing, and nicknames him Onion. The boy pretty much just goes along for the ride, but finds he’s become fond of this incredibly strange man. McBride depicts John Brown as completely insane but also as brave and compassionate.
In spite of the heavy subject matter, the novel manages a lot of funny moments. For those interested, you can read an interview with McBride on the National Book Award website and also watch a video of his acceptance speech.
Blue Springs North Branch