This book is an extraordinary debut that tackles race, wealth and family head on as a young black man finds the American Dream dissolving around him. On the eve of this thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of "Man Gone Down" finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend's ...
This book is an extraordinary debut that tackles race, wealth and family head on as a young black man finds the American Dream dissolving around him. On the eve of this thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of "Man Gone Down" finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend's six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep his kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them to live in. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we discover a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it's like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.
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This was an amazing book!! I found it difficult to read at times. This has the lyrical flow of James Baldwin tied into the time shifts you would find in a Toni Morrison novel. Don?t let the free association fool you. It is a great story for understanding the mental and social struggles an African American goes through. Especially one tied into an inter-racial relationship.
The core question I found rising to the top of my thoughts was; ?Should I stay or should I go?? Men of all backgrounds will understand the fear and doubt associated with the idea of failing to provide for your family. We often ask: What do we do when things just don?t work out for the best? What do we do when we just don?t have the answer? The author eloquently puts these thoughts and doubts onto paper. The author also reminds us that regardless of how much we try not to acknowledge race our simple day to day thoughts are sprinkled with race based associations. Just look at the very public Obama campaign in 2008. As an African American male you find its always there but the key is to learn how to navigate the waters without excessive anger or unfounded fear.
I look forward to Michael Thomas? next book I?m sure he?ll strip away another social layer just lurking below the surface of America.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-10-09 Born poor, black and brilliant in a Boston ghetto, the unnamed man of the title is, at 35, crashing at a friend's place in New York , trying to scrape up enough money to keep his family afloat. As he reluctantly returns to the construction jobs that he thought he'd left behind and works to collect on old debts (and defer his own), he narrates his Boston bildung and traces his early years and the history of his relationship with his white Boston Brahmin wife, Claire. His childhood was marked by parental neglect and early experiments with heavy alcohol consumption. A natural writer, he was taken under the wing of a prominent black intellectual during his college years, but didn't follow through as his relationship with Claire and then the demands of married life intensified. Now, as he struggles to support a life he isn't sure he believes in, he is tempted to return to drink, give up on his marriage and abandon his children, although Claire has demonstrated her unwavering support. For all of the introspection and occasional indulgence in self-pity, the narrator retains a note of hard-won optimism, and Thomas resolutely steers him clear of sentimentality. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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