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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Picture this: It's 1984 in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in Philadelphia, and your tour guide is 13-year-old altar boy Henry Toohey. But don't be fooled by that description. A quick-witted, trash-talking, self-obsessed teenager, Henry's No. 1 concern is his appearance. He carries at all times, and with pride, a comb named Big Green, and believes the greatest evidence of one's character lies in the style of one's hair: virtue in a perfectly feathered "do," vice in a "comb-over." Henry's father, a career mailman, has been cheating on Henry's mom for the past year. And Henry's older brother, Stephen, "the Pug with a Lonely Mug," has been lost to his family in a "sad sleep" since a car accident claimed the life of his high school sweetheart.
Underneath the fear and frustration that shapes life in the row houses on St. Patrick Street, Henry sees love and "green grass grace," representing the possibilities his family once believed in, too. Debut novelist McBride reminds readers of the saving power of dreams and the value of forgiveness -- wrapped up in one daring kid with a mighty heart and the determination to heal the world with laughter. In Green Grass Grace, Shawn McBride delivers a uniquely nostalgic, bitingly satirical package, capturing not only a time and a place but also the struggles of a young boy trying to hold his family together. (Spring 2003 Selection)