Review: Deacon King Kong

Genre: Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
(Content Warning: alcohol and drug addiction)
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range.

In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters–caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York–overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.


I’m not going to attempt to write a detailed review, because it’s clear that when reading Deacon King Kong I was in WAY over my head. I struggle with literary fiction even in the best of times, but I think with all the stress I’m currently under regarding unknowns at work and Covid I had an especially hard time just concentrating on what I was reading. So at times I LOVED this book, and at other times felt bored out of my mind.

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2nd Half of 2020 Reading List

If you’ve gotten a comment from my on Instagram or the blogosphere in the last month and a half you’ve probably heard me say “I’ve had that book on my tbr FOREVER, and I just haven’t gotten to it yet!” (Is that the book blogger motto or what?) I’ve also got a quarter million new releases out or coming out in 2020 that I want to read.

The obvious problem here is that I have a hard time prioritizing certain books. As a very much mood reader I tend to skip on heavier or more serious books, even if I *really* want to read them. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT!!!

So I hand-wrote a list of must-reads in 2020! (Any other type As out there??) Here they are!

Must-Read New Releases

The Year of the Witching
Have had this Salem-esque book on my TBR since January, and a fellow bookstagramer just gave me the green-light that it’s not too scary to read. Can’t wait!

The Angel of the Crows
First of all, Katherine Addison is my everything. Second of all, an alt-history London with monsters, Jack the Ripper, and a Sherlock vibe? Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!

Deacon King Kong
Heard a great interview with James McBride that made me decide to pick this book up. Excited for the slice-of-life storytelling, religious characters, and light satire.

I’ll Be the One
I’m in a fluffy mood lately, and this looks like the funnest book on my tbr. Plus East-Asian rep AND body-positive rep!

Continue reading “2nd Half of 2020 Reading List”