Friday, November 16, 2012

No Crystal Stair

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2012. Lerner. 188 pages. 

There were a few times when No Crystal Stair amazed me, and definitely there were times I found it interesting or fascinating. But. I didn't love this one enough to gush about it. It is a uniquely told story told in fragments, fragments which make for quick reading, for the most part. But also the fragments kept me separated, in a way, from the main character(s). It was a respectful distance. Readers meet an inspirational man with a big dream and determination to match it. A man convinced that books could make a difference, that is READING books could make a difference, that knowledge improves lives. The book chronicles his early life and comes to focus on his great success as a one-of-a-kind bookseller, owning a bookstore focusing exclusively on books written by African Americans or about African Americans. For those interested in race relations in the twentieth century--especially in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s--this one could easily be considered a must read.  

Read No Crystal Stair
  • If you are looking for a fictional novel based on true people and events
  • If you are looking for an unusual, often brilliant, portrait of a man and the times in which he lived
  • If you are looking to learn more about the Harlem Renaissance OR the Civil Rights movement

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I've been curious about this one since I've seen it bandied about as a Newbery contender. Thanks for the review!

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Vasilly said...

I read this book earlier this year and really loved it. I'm glad you read it. Happy Thanksgiving!