I have only read one other book by James McBride, that was Deacon King Kong back in 2021. I liked that one. His new book The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store has garnered all kinds of praise. So I had to see what it was all about. Here is my Book Review The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride.
McBride is a master of weaving a tale, and so you gotta be on your toes with this novel. In this book you will meet a wildly varied group of characters, each brilliantly developed and lushly described by McBride. We find ourselves on Chicken Hill, a run down neighborhoods of Pottstown Pennsylvania where African Americans and immigrant Jews live and work side by side.
The folks of Chicken Hill manage to get by despite living on the margins of the wider white community who control everything from the water system to the police. Blacks and Jews work the system as best they can, but without each other it doesn’t come together for the people of Chicken Hill.
Our story focuses on Moshe an immigrant Jew and his beautiful wife Chona an American born Jew. There lives are entwined with Nate, a black worker at Moshe’s theater and Nate’s wife Addie who helps Chona at the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. Nate and Addie’s 12 year old nephew Dodo, who is deaf, finds out the “State” is trying to put him in an institution. Trouble ensues as the entire community comes together to silently and conspiratorially help Dodo.
Meanwhile the white elite of the town, including lecherous Doc Roberts and a local City Council man are creating additional problems for the people of Chicken Hill. This is when the bonds of friendship, love and community will come together. Not everyone will survive, but no one will ever be forgotten in the tight knit community of Chicken Hill, home of the Heaven and Earth Grocery Store.
Thank you for reading my Book Review The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
*****Five Stars for The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride. See last week’s book review After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell.
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