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Brooklyn in 1969 was a much different place than it is today. James McBride gives us a glimpse of what life was like by including us in the neighborhood goings-on after an older black man, known as "Sportcoat", drunk on cheap booze shoots a young drug dealer for reasons unknown. Sportcoat, or Deacon King Kong another of his nicknames, is a loveable fool. He stumbles around carrying on conversations with his dead wife and his friends in the neighborhood. The bulk of the book is loaded with colorful dialogue that helps explain the nicknames and shows us how tight this neighborhood really is. James McBride has an easy-going writing style that makes you feel like you are there sitting on a stoop watching all the excitement. This neighborhood is deeply connected to their faith - in the church that Sportcoat was once the deacon of and in each other. The crime and wrongdoing almost take second place to this crazy cast of characters.
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