Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest J. Gaines
Method of Disposal: Donating or giving it to you if you want it

I just Finished A Lesson Before Dying and was not all that impressed. The last 10-15 pages were probably the best in the whole book, which is unusual. In my experience people have far more trouble ending a story than starting one. I, personally, have that problem. In the last pages, I cried when the inevitable happens, but it is hard not to when you are reading about an execution.

The majority of the book is not emotionally charged. At least, not through the writing, which is somewhat repetitive and basic. The story itself is great, but it gets lost in all the non-descript words and in the lack of plot development. I could never really believe in the relationship between the man sentenced to death and the teacher who visits him. I needed so much more in the character development arena. The poor prisoner, he is really never given fair treatment by the author. I do not get the feeling that he was much liked by Gaines. Maybe he got so caught up in trying to make Jefferson look a certain way that he forgot to allow him any independence, thought, or respect. I know we are seeing the perception of someone change from a “pig” to a “man,” but I think it could have been achieved in a less elementary way.

I do not think this is an awful book, but I would not suggest it to anyone. It just does not do execution, racism, its own characters, segregation any justice.

P.S. Day 4 has been great! Why can't they all be this good?

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