Book review: Deacon King Kong by James McBride

If you want to read what I would call a great and imaginative mystery; try Deacon King Kong by James McBride. The author succeeds with deep social commentary, rich imagery, all weaved into a provocative story. The book is set in a late 1960s Brooklyn project where Black people have migrated north to escape the racism of the south only to discover a new version of it. The main character known as Sports Coat struggles against overwhelming odds due to family neglect almost from birth, racist abuse, poverty, and finally alcoholism. Tragedy strikes early in the book, but Sports Coat despite his flaws is a deeply spiritual man who struggles to the end to make his life meaningful. Friendship and fellowship are major elements of this satisfying book where all of the characters struggle in their lives, but possess inner strength and character. The world can be a tough place and Deacon King Kong does not hide this reality, but author James McBride does a masterful job of portraying the human spirit shining through the darkness.

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