The Nickel Boys

"The Nickel Boys": This is what it's like when you have a different skin color, A Book review

Although he was accepted to the studies that were supposed to change his life, Elwood Curtis finds himself at the Nickel School, an institution for the rehabilitation of young offenders. There he tries to survive the abuses and corruption against him, as a black boy

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Elwood Curtis is a black boy who tries to break through the frame in which he lives. To get out of the neighborhood, from the school, from the society in which he lives and grew up. An environment that will most likely lead him to a difficult life on the street. He manages to be accepted into a special program of studies at the university that can be a springboard for him to a different life. his life

The book 'The Nickel Boys' by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Ellwood, within the story of a rehabilitative educational institution named after its first principal - Nickel. In this institution, which includes studies and work, the boys are educated in discipline and proper social behavior. There are white and black boys, who live in separate houses and are also treated differently.

As in many books and places, things look completely different from the outside than they do from the inside, and besides a full and overflowing agenda, productive work for the sake of the institution's prosperity, and 'shows' in front of visits by outsiders to the institution, in practice there is corruption and abuse, mainly against the black boys, who usually have no They have an interested and supportive family back.

The Nickel Boys (Photo: goodreads)

Everyone at Nickel School knew the White House, which used to be used as a tool shed and became the room where the boys were abused and whipped. At night, staff members would come and pick up the boys who needed to be punished. One night it was Ellwood's turn. He was taken to the White House where he was whipped until who passed out. The next day, he woke up in the clinic where he stayed for many days until he returned to his room.

Every day, other boys would be taken, for different reasons, to the White House and would return broken and torn. In more serious cases, they would be taken to the trees and no one would return from there. They would bury them without specifying a place and condition, knowing that probably no one would look for them and if they did, the answer would be that they ran away.

What keeps Elwood at Nickel School is friendship with another boy named Turner, who is trying to escape trouble and survive in this place. Your exit ticket from a nickel depends on how many good points you accumulate for good behavior until you reach the high rank and can be released, and Turner is aiming for that. Elwood is a kind of 'nerd' and Turner tries to teach him to survive and behave in school so that he has a chance to get out of there.

Turner manages to add Ellwood to an easier work squad, where it is harder to get into trouble, but things at Nickel are getting more complicated and this leads Ellwood and Turner to make a difficult decision, a decision that will have consequences for many years.

Whitehead writes in a fascinating and interesting style, he certainly knows how to tell a story and as a reader I really enjoyed reading it. The descriptions in the book of sensations and sights are very tangible and the story itself is very interesting and thought-provoking. It is not an easy book but it is an important book.


Do not send comments that include inflammatory words, defamation, and content that exceeds the limit of good taste.