Book review: The Good Lord Bird

I really wanted to like The Good Lord Bird by James McBride more than I did. His non-fiction The Color of Water is one of my favorite audiobooks and I had hoped that I would enjoy his fiction as much. I love to read historical fiction. Unfortunately, my expectations may have been set too high. This was my first novel as an audiobook and I am curious whether or not my enjoyment of this story was affected by the fact that it wasn’t the typical audiobook that I listen to.

The Good Lord Bird tells the story of Henry, a slave boy in Kansas who is taken in by John Brown and his abolitionist band of men. The tale fictionalizes John Brown’s crusade and the key players in the anti-slavery movement of the time.  McBride uses humor and caricature to build the story and develop the players. The book reader does a good job of portraying the dialog of each character — and there is a LOT of dialog.

I think the book, in general, was ok. I do wish it had been a little more compelling of a story and a little less repetitious . McBride did convey an interesting perspective on how slaves felt about the work John Brown and his men were doing but I think he could have gone deeper.


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