Thoughts by Ralph Ellison, Random House Audio 2010 (orig 1952, 624 pages), 18 hours 36 min
Narration by Joe Morton. Five slices of pie on performance.
Challenge: Classics Club second list of 50, Litsy #BookSpinBINGO!
Genre/Theme: US Black Experience/History
Type/Source: Audiobook/Audible and eBook / Kindle via Libby
What It’s About: OK, this is a complicated plot, if ever there was one. In fact, I wondered, though I’m hardly experienced to even suggest such a thing, if this is an Odyssey-like parallel. (I have NOT read the Odyssey and barely know any mythology). May I say that this is a SERIES of ADVENTURES? (maybeperhaps, Gulliver’s Travels? I haven’t read that, neither. Maybe it is its OWN dang odyssey/travels?!) Anyway. Our narrator begins with an explanation and example of how he is ‘invisible’. Then, he goes back to the beginning, but really it starts with his grandfather, then his yearning to be an educated and worthy person, and wowza,…. ALL the stuff along the way that influences or subverts this dream.
In trying to be “good” to the white man, Mr. Norton, who is a benefactor at his college, and importantly tasked with being his driver while in town (but obviously naive), he takes Norton to the dark sides of town. This gets our college-boy expelled and he still, in trying to do “right”, … yea, NO…; the forces are against him. And this jumps over the “HOW” he got to college story! THAT was not a comfortable experience and once, in NY –> just more NOT-comfortable experiences over and over again.
“But that’s a hundred-dollar bill. I take that an’ try to change it and the white folks’ll want to know my whole life’s history.” She snorted. “They want to know where I was born, where I work, and where I been for the last six months, and when I tell ’em they still gonna think I stole it.
This is a powerful work of literary art.
Rating: Four slices of sweet potato pie. Should I be giving it 5 out of respect and uniqueness/”same-as-it-ever-was” and importance? But golly, is it long. (BOOO! suck it up, buttercup!)
“…hot sweet potato pies… HOT FRIED PIES, I thought sadly, moving away. I would probably have indigestion if at one…”
Some lady in NC successfully got this book banned in a 2013 NC school district because it lacked innocence and was not appropriate for her 11th grade child. ELEVENTH GRADE!? Read article –>here<<–
On the other hand, a commenter to the YouTube Thug Notes for this novel, suggests that this text is perfect for writing AP lit essays and I find this an interesting factoid. Why, I wonder? Hmmmmm. I do appreciate Professor Sparky Sweets.
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