Great idea to start this thread.
I've loved this book for 2 decades now. I have both the book and the award winning short story upon which it was based. I was raised in the later years of the civil rights struggles in Birmingham, Ala. In our city today, we are very conscious of race relations because of our embarrassing history. In my late teens when I first read this book, the theme of teamwork and brotherhood resonated with my maturing sense of how I wanted to view myself and my society. The character descriptions in the book are almost irrelevant, because it is the dialogue that really mattered most to me.