Deacon King Kong by James McBride
What’s it about?
This novel is set in the 1960's at The Cause Housing Project in Brooklyn. The story centers around an old church deacon named Sportcoat that can't stay away from the booze. His wife Hettie has died and he spends too much time drinking and talking to her ghost. He is obsessed with finding the Christmas Club money she left somewhere because he is afraid the church people will think he stole it. One day he drinks too much and walks up to the neighborhood drug dealer and shoots him. Now the whole neighborhood gets involved to protect him.
What did it make me think about?
Brooklyn and changing neighborhoods.
Should I read it?
This was my favorite James McBride novel to date. I loved the characters and he just brings Brooklyn in the 1960's to life. It takes some patience in the beginning but if you stick it out Sportcoat may be one of your favorite literary characters this year.
"She'd known most of them her whole life. They stared at her with that look, that projects look: the sadness the suspicious, the weariness, the knowledge that came from living a special misery in a world of misery. Four of their numbers were down- gone, changed forever, dead or not, it didn't matter. And there would be more. The drugs, big drugs, heroin, were here. Nothing could stop it."
If you liked this try-
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Ruby by Cynthia Bond
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!