I have been trying to complete Native Son by Richard Wright for over a decade. I bought the book while I was an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama in either 1999 or 2000. Since then I had started and stopped at various places in the book. Finally last year, I picked it up again. This time I made it a waiting room book. (This is a book that I read in waiting rooms.) Fortunately for completion of the book, but not for me, I was rather sick over the last months. So I got a lot of reading done in this book.
I finally finished it. Although I know why it was the case, this book dragged on far too long. Pages and pages could have been eliminated to make a far quicker read. After the early pages in the character development of Bigger, we have the murder and the disposal of the body followed by the discovery of the body and the manhunt. It is pretty thrilling through that point. After that, things get bogged down in the trial. Again, I know why so much time was spent here, but it still just dragged on.
I’m not going to say I disliked this book because I didn’t. I will say it could have been tighter. There was fare too many long blocks of stilted dialog. At times it felt like a direct sermon to the audience instead of a novel. I wouldn’t read it again, but I think I’m better for reading it.
So far in my year of classics, I’m not doing too bad.