It's 1985. Benji, the son of a lawyer and a doctor, is one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends much of the year going to roller disco bar mitzvahs and trying desperately to find a social group that will accept him. But every summer, Benji and his brother Reggie escape to Sag Harbor on Long Island, where a small ...
It's 1985. Benji, the son of a lawyer and a doctor, is one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends much of the year going to roller disco bar mitzvahs and trying desperately to find a social group that will accept him. But every summer, Benji and his brother Reggie escape to Sag Harbor on Long Island, where a small community of African-American professionals have built a world of their own. Except Benji is just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates during the school year. He's one step behind on every new dance, and his attempts to meet a girl are undermined by his own awkwardness, not to mention his braces and his father-cut Afro. Sag Harbor is a warm and funny novel about the perpetual mortification of teenage existence from one of the most acclaimed writers in the English language.
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-02-23 In what Whitehead describes as his "Autobiographical Fourth Novel" (as opposed to the more usual autobiographical first novel), the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist John Henry Days explores the in-between space of adolescence through one boy's summer in a predominantly black Long Island neighborhood. Benji and Reggie, brothers so closely knit that many mistake them for twins, have been coming out to Sag Harbor for as long as they can remember. For Benji, each three-month stay at Sag is a chance to catch up with friends he doesn't see the rest of the year, and to escape the social awkwardness that comes with a bad afro, reading Fangoria, and being the rare African-American student at an exclusive Manhattan prep school. As he and Reggie develop separate identities and confront new factors like girls, part-time jobs and car-ownership, Benji struggles to adapt to circumstances that could see him joining the ranks of "Those Who Don't Come Out Anymore." Benji's funny and touching story progresses leisurely toward Labor Day, but his reflections on what's gone before provide a roadmap to what comes later, resolving social conflicts that, at least this year, have yet to explode. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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