This stunning, poetic memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow depicts a boyhood in a rural Louisiana hamlet echoing with the aftermath of slavery. Blow emerges from a childhood replete with storytelling, extended family and trauma to give voice to his singular experience. Riveting!— Amy Palmer
An incredibly moving memoir set in the South - this young boy experienced unbelievable turmoil growing up - sexual abuse, sexual confusion, a yearning for love and friendship. Now a New York Times columnist! — Barbara Morrow
A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up--a place where slavery's legacy was felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.
Charles's attachment to his mother--a fiercely driven women with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning--cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.
Finally, Charles escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.
A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.