Colson Whitehead is a master storyteller. With The Nickel Boys, Whitehead takes the true history of a Boys Reform School in Florida and gives the boys abused there a voice and an advocate.
The boys at The Nickel School range in age, color, and innocence. Elwood is innocent and naive which causes him issues. Turner is street smart and shows Elwood the ropes since it’s his second term at Nickel.
Each chapter is written like a separate vignette telling a story of racism, violence, injustice, and corrupt power.
Often the books that win the Pulitzer are cumbersome, full of themselves. This novel is completely approachable while sharing a hidden yet important aspect of racism in the US.