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James McBride

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

    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.

    Pay Attention

    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

    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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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Deacon King Kong by James McBride

    Reading Wednesday

    Deacon King Kong

    It’s been probably 7 or 8 years since I read McBride’s novel “The Good Lord Bird” and it remains a favorite read of mine. So when my husband suggested I read this latest novel by McBride I was anxious to. Here is my book review Deacon King Kong by James McBride.

    Deacon King Kong

    I had a lot of distractions going on in my personal life while I was reading this book. Some days I didn’t have time to even pick it up…other days it was a great little retreat for me at the end of a crazy day. McBride’s writing is superb, and in fact even better in Deacon King Kong than in The Good Lord Bird. One of the reasons this book has enjoyed so much acclaim and awards.

    The year is 1969 and the place is the “projects” in Brooklyn New York. A rundown neighborhood slowly becoming a drug capital. We are introduced to the men, women and children of the ‘hood, whose lives revolve mostly around each other and church. The majority are black from the South, some Puerto Rican and some Italian. The protagonist is Deacon King Kong who, we will learn, goes by many other names as well. A widower, a deacon, a gardener, an umpire, a coach, a janitor and a drunk. This is the story of Deacon King Kong and all the versions of his life, and all the people in his life and how the story is set in motion on the day he shoots a young drug dealer in the neighborhood.

    Three Things I Loved About This Book

    1. Multiple storylines, each one fully developed and engaging, culminate beautifully in the end of the book.
    2. Spectacular character development. There are numerous characters and McBride is brilliant in this area. You truly are rooting for all of these people to make it and to come out happy on the other side.
    3. And the narrative setting of Brooklyn in the tumultuous 1960’s plays out so well in the writing as the multiple storylines follow cops (both good and bad), race and racism, mobsters and drug dealers, poverty, community and faith.

    McBride shows us in this book how things may not always be what they appear, how lives can be entwined in ways we may not understand, and how compassion and gratitude can change lives beyond our own time on this earth. This book is about faith. I hope you enjoyed my book review Deacon King Kong by James McBride

    *****Five stars for Deacon King Kong

    Read last week’s book review of Oona Out of Order here.

    My current read Simon the Fiddler

    This week’s top performing pin Idle Away in Idyllwild

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    Deacon King Kong