Welcome to the final discussion of The Good Lord Bird.
How did you enjoy the reading experience this week? Were you satisfied with the ending? Did you enjoy the book as a whole?
The most shocking part of this section was the part with Frederick Douglass. The description of him was definitely not like any description of him I've ever read. Were you surprised by his depiction? I think the biggest tidbit was the fact that Douglass had two women living in his house. I definitely didn't learn about that in history class. And, it was shocking to think that he would hit on a young, innocent person like Onion. If you'd like to read about the historical accuracy of James McBride's characterization of Frederick Douglass, check out this article.
Harriet Tubman also makes an appearance in this section. It's interesting to think that all of these powerful and famous people lived at the same time as one another and interacted with each other. It's hard to think of these historical figures as actual people who lived actual lives. Apparently, Harriet Tubman and John Brown interacted with each other in real life, and Tubman actually helped Brown plan his attack on Harper's Ferry. Check out this article if you want to learn more about that.
One thing that drove me absolutely crazy throughout this section was the fact that John Brown acted like he had a strong plan, but he never shared the particulars with anyone. I cannot imagine following a man who would not give the specifics of what he was attempting to do. Do you think he actually had a plan throughout this last section? Was he afraid that no one would follow him once they knew how futile their final fight would be? I just wanted him to be forthright and honest, but he was so secretive.
In this section, we meet Annie. She was definitely an important character to Onion. Were you surprised that he latched on to her so quickly? She sure got a big surprise when Onion jumped off the wagon and showed that he was really a boy.
The attack chapters were so incredibly chaotic. From the shooting of the Rail Man to the loss of a bunch of the fighters, the whole day was pretty much a disaster. The Rail Man was a real person--check out a little biography about him here. Did you have a hard time keeping up all of the action in those chapters? I definitely had a hard time picturing exactly what was happening. I was glad that even though the event didn't turn out the way John Brown was expecting, he still had hope at the end of his life. He was sure that the enslaved people would eventually be freed. I thought that was nice. The book ended pretty hopefully, I thought. I was surprised that John Brown didn't find out about Onion's secret until the very last pages. I can't believe he was able to hide being a boy for so many years.
What other parts of this last section did you enjoy? Did you have a favorite character? Was there anything you would have changed about Onion's story?
Before you go, check out the clip below in which James McBride talks about The Good Lord Bird and plays music. It's pretty neat.
If you liked this book and want to read similar titles, check out this list I created. Make sure to let me know if you check out anything on the list.
Thanks so much for joining us this month. Make sure to leave a comment to let me know how you felt about the ending of the book. And, join us again next month as we read News of the World by Paulette Jiles. I can't wait to hear from you in the comments section!