Dr. King’s Refrigerator and Other Bedtime Stories

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson, a professor and the author of Middle Passage, for which he won a National Book Award, has hit the mark when it comes to short stories that combine thoughtfulness, humor and brevity. Dr. King’s Refrigerator includes tales that ponder the consequences of taxing our dreams to raise revenue (not that we want to give the legislators any ideas), the problems with getting what you wish for, and good reasons not to kiss any princes. By far, my favorite is the title story, with its deeply human portrait of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young man on the cusp of prominence who makes a profound spiritual discovery while raiding the fridge for some midnight munchies. Johnson writes with a grace that critics love, but his characters have a human grace worth visiting.