A book cover with a black background and bright yellow letters spelling James
Everett, Percivel
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Apr 15, 2024

If I had to use one word to summarize James by Percivel Everett, it would be stunning.  From code switching language, lessons in translation from proper English to "slave talk" (correct incorrect grammar) to appeasing white people to stay safe, to conversations with John Locke and Voltaire, James narrates his story in his voice. What does it mean to be a slave in the American South in the 1800s? What does it mean to be Black and self-educated?  To pass? To run? To fight? James tells us. Everett has said in interviews that James is not a retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but "the Jim" story Mark Twain could not possibly have told. Everett allows James to tell it, to write it, to make decisions about his story and life simply because he's a human being. In 2024, we feel the full weight of our collective history in his story.


Reviewed by Cheryl M.
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