Deacon King Kong: Book Review  

Today, we will be reviewing of the best books of 2020, Deacon King Kong by James McBride. It is a riveting tale that will make you laugh and cry. Keep reading for our review and see if you should read this novel next!  

Deacon King Kong Summary  

An old drunk church deacon known as Sportcoat walks into the courtyard of Cause Houses housing project in Brooklyn and shoots Deems Clemens, the leader of the neighborhood drug dealers. But when Deems starts choking, Sportcoat saves him. Everyone is shocked and fear that the drug dealers will retaliate.  

The shooting affects everyone that lives in the housing projects and McBride tells the story through various perspectives and how they are all connected. Sportscoat doesn’t even recall shooting Deems and goes about his life as he normally wou.d. But the drug dealers have other plans and send someone to get revenge.  

Deacon King Kong Book Review

The local police also investigate the shooting but can’t seem to locate Sportscoat. Members of the Five Ends Baptist Church also get involved as they try to protect Sportscoat. Little do they know how everything is connected and how one event has led to this moment.  


Trying to explain the plot without spoiling anything was harder than usual. A big reason for that is this novel is all over the place. There are a bunch of characters that are all important to the plot. McBride is able to tell a beautiful tale that seemed incoherent at first. But once everything starts to click, you will be in awe.

It is no wonder that this novel won Gotham Book Prize, made Oprah’s Book Club, and was one of Barack Obama’s “favorite books of the year.” I ended up reading it because of the Gotham Book Prize and I was glad I did.


This review does not do the novel justice. But I wanted to recommend this book and encourage more people to give it a chance. With half of the year already over, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up being my favorite read of the year!

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