Nickel Academy is a reform school for boys in Florida. It is segregated-white boys on the west side of the institution, black boys on the east side. While Nickel calls itself an academy, it really is a house of torture. The Nickel Boys focuses on the life of Elwood Curtis. Elwood is a black youngster raised by his grandmother. He is bright, motivated and takes the inspirational words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to heart. Unfortunately, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was not enthralled with Whitehead’s, The Underground Railroad, although the rest of the world found it superb. For me, The Nickel Boys is a much finer novel. The characters, the plot, its presentation, and its historical significance make for an exceptional, thought-provoking work with a terrific ending.