—Book Club Book Review— Title: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store Author: James McBride Publisher: Riverhead Books @riverheadbooks Genre: Historical/Literary/Cultural Fiction + Mystery “Light is only possible though dialogue between cultures, not through rejection of one or the other.” The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride is quite a dense book to unpack, so I’m very glad to have my bookclub @bookfriendsbookclub to discuss this with!
This book feels like a love letter to humanity, communities and the idea that we are all more alike than different.
Before you dive in, I want to be upfront that there are a lot of characters! And this author is a big fan of nicknames. It’s also the type of book that at even only 381 pages, feels a lot longer. One of our bookclub members @bloomin.chick compared the writing to jazz music. Totally makes sense since the author is a jazz musician!
Our story begins in 1972 with the discovery of a body, when a new housing development is going in. This is just one of the many secrets that been kept for decades by the residents of Chicken Hill. Chicken Hill was where Romanian born Moshe and his Jewish wife Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery store in a quirky little area full of European immigrants. Everything changes when the state is coming after a deaf Black child and Chona’s kind heart takes him into hiding. This has the community bonding together.
The author takes on bigotry, hypocrisy and deceit in a community; the struggles to survive in a white Christian America.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I found the middle a little slower and with so many characters it was challenging at times. However, I really enjoyed the beginning and the last 100 pages really shined. This is a worthy book and read. The author is brilliant! Read it with someone you can discuss it with to get the most of of it!
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