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Extended Audio Sample M.C. Higgins, the Great Audiobook, by Virginia Hamilton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,432 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Virginia Hamilton Narrator: Roscoe Lee Browne Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2017 ISBN: 9781470355050
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“Two years ago bulldozers had come to make a cut at the top of Sarah’s Mountain. They began uprooting trees and pushing subsoil in a huge pile to get at the coal. As the pile grew enormous, so had M.C.‘s fear of it. He had nightmares in which the heap came tumbling down. Over and over again, it buried his family on the side of the mountain.”-from M.C. Higgins, the Great When M.C. Higgins climbed the 40-foot steel pole near his house, he could see over the spiky treetops and far across the rolling emerald hills. There, on Sarah’s Mountain, with his face turned toward the sun and his arms spread wide, M.C. welcomed in the morning of a brand new day. How he would have liked to stay there forever! But M.C. knew-better than his family-that strip mining had reduced the outcropping upon which their cabin was built to rubble, and soon the spoilage would come raining down, burying their home forever. When two strangers come to the mountain, M.C. thinks he’s found a solution to his problem, only to discover that the real answer, like the playful voices inside his head, lies in himself.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joy | 2/16/2014

    " I've been reading this for about a month now and I can't get into it. It's so bizarre. He swings around on the top of a pole and attacks girls in the forest. It's a newberry so I can't give it a 1 star, but... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Stark | 2/14/2014

    " It's dense and a little bit difficult to get through, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was well worth the effort. As a heads up, there is a part where the main character chases a girl through the woods with a knife in the dark, catches her, and demands a kiss. That's not what the book is about, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deidre | 2/13/2014

    " Read as an assignment. I was really quite enthralled with the character development in this book. I could easily talk about this one over dinner until long after dessert arrived. It is an unusually flavored book with little plot, stark symbolism, and some real wisdom. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lars Guthrie | 2/10/2014

    " I knew Virginia Hamilton as a collector of folk tales (the fabulous 'The People Could Fly' and 'The Dark Way'). Aware that she had won the Newbery for 'M.C.,' I have meant to read it for some time, but was put off by the covers of the editions I have seen (especially the current paperback shown here). Which just goes to show you how powerful a bad cover can be, and how misleading. Because this is an amazing novel. It's not really magical realism because it is absolutely real, but everything in it feels mystical. The characters are drawn in visceral detail (some down to their six-fingered hands and feet) but they remain mysterious. It's the coming-of-age story of Mayo Cornelius Higgins, who suffers under the weight of a slag heap which looms over his Ohio backcountry home, teetering on a mountainside that looks out on beautiful wilderness one way and a strip-mined hell on the other, and the pressures of his domineering father and vibrantly alive mother. It's a very particular and peculiar story about an unusually isolated African-American family that is wholly universal. Highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kayleigh | 1/19/2014

    " Despite Hamilton's lovely prose and complex, intriguing themes, I simply could not get into this book. I couldn't stand any of the characters (which wouldn't have been a problem if they had at least been interesting, but sadly they weren't), the semi-mystical plot points felt unnecessary and haphazard, and the complacent attitudes toward prejudice and abuse were infuriating. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Holly | 1/18/2014

    " I don't get it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melinda | 1/17/2014

    " This book describes three days in the life of M.C. Higgins and the difficult dynamic of his family. I found the story to be slow at times and the portion of the book devoted to day one seemed to drag on and on. I wonder what other books were in the running for the Newbery that year. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob | 1/15/2014

    " How about a boy who spends his time sitting on a seat high on a pole, pedaling away and going nowhere. This book went nowhere for me. Odd. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 12/27/2013

    " I loved this book. It's definitely a quick and fun read. Like all good books, it makes you think. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Wendy | 12/6/2013

    " Unfortunately, I did not learn anything from this book. It was flushed through one ear and out the other. But, I blame MISD--a public school system--where we learned to read aloud, read quickly, and read without really reading at all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbie Tanner | 11/2/2013

    " I found this book really confusing and I couldn't connect with the characters at all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Teardra | 8/30/2013

    " This book felt a little scattered and aimless. Memorable characters for sure but I'm not quire sure what the point of the story was. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 7/28/2013

    " ...not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 7/22/2013

    " I liked learning about mountain life...... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mai Person | 5/13/2013

    " Really great story! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debora Baird | 3/19/2013

    " I liked the ending but the rest was weird. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 2/28/2013

    " Loved it as a kid...my son loved it when he got to the proper age. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annette | 2/21/2013

    " This book was a real chore to get through! I really don't know how it got the Newberry Award, and I would be interested to find out what kids like it and why. It seemed so random. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendi | 2/11/2013

    " Interesting story about life in the rural mountains of Ohio. Kind of confusing at parts, and slow storyline. "

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About the Author
Author Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton (1936–2002) grew up in rural Ohio among an extended family and generations of storytellers. Her grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought by his mother from Virginia slavery to Ohio via the Underground Railroad. She received nearly every award in the field of children’s literature, including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Newbery Medal, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Coretta Scott King Award.