Everybody's Son

Thrity Umrigar (The Story Hour) is best known for her moving novels that delve into class, privilege and family. In Everybody's Son, she also tackles issues of race and identity. At its heart, though, it is a story about the bonds between children and parents--both biological and adoptive--and the struggle to be true to oneself.

Ten-year-old Anton lives in the projects with his mother, Juanita. After she leaves him alone for seven days with no food, Anton breaks a window to escape the oppressive heat in their apartment. Police find Juanita in a crack house where her drug dealer left her, half-naked and barely conscious.

Anton's new life with his foster parents is the exact opposite of everything he has ever known. Judge David Coleman and his wife, Delores, are thrilled to have a child in their home again, after the tragic death of their son. David uses his power and connections to adopt Anton.

Though Anton comes to love his new family and grows up with incredible advantages, he always feels, deep inside, torn between two worlds. His college girlfriend, Carine, tells him, "I can't decide if you're the blackest white man I've ever met or the whitest black man." The truth of these words crushes Anton, who will eventually have to come to terms with his history.

Umrigar's gorgeous language creates a vibrant world. She has crafted another emotionally intense and compelling novel that explores difficult moral questions as well as family bonds. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book by Book blog

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