Saving Our Sons

Saving Our Sons

by Marita Golden
     
 

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Marita Golden began her writing career with Migrations Of The Heart, a memoir about living with her husband in his native Nigeria. In Migrations, Golden tells how it was only with the birth of her child -- a son -- that she was truly respected, for in that culture males are held in highest esteem. Ten years later, Golden presents, in essence, her

Overview

Marita Golden began her writing career with Migrations Of The Heart, a memoir about living with her husband in his native Nigeria. In Migrations, Golden tells how it was only with the birth of her child -- a son -- that she was truly respected, for in that culture males are held in highest esteem. Ten years later, Golden presents, in essence, her son's story. Michael is now in his teens and he, his mother, and his stepfather are haunted by this statistic: The leading cause of death among black males under 21 is homicide. The boy who was surrounded by a warm, loving African tribe is now the kid who arrives home horrified by shootings in his school hallways, and reports that friends are stopped by police for no other reason than that they are black. The son who was revered in one country is, in the U.S., looked upon with scorn by whites and a deep, aching fear by his fellow African-Americans that his life may be casually taken. Through the story of raising her own son, Golden confronts the explosive issues. In her search for the causes of the violence, Golden reassesses the legacy of her own generation's struggle for civil rights. She interviews psychologists, leading African-American thinkers, as well as young black men -- criminals and scholars alike. She asks Lonise Bias, the mother of Len and Jay Bias, how she became an indelible symbol of many parents whose suffering has been transformed into public action. Marita Golden infuses this sociological drama with the hope only a mother's love can engender.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``As the mother of a black son, I have raised my child with a trembling hand that clutches and leads,'' declares novelist Golden (And Do Remember Me). Though her book title is overbroad and her narrative a bit jagged, she crafts a moving story, mainly of raising her son, Michael, whose middle-class status is no badge of protection from cops or peers. With family ties frayed by mobility, Golden has built a community with friends, but is estranged from her Nigerian ex-husband and wonders if Michael suffers without a father figure. In the course of her tale, Golden marries a man Michael likes, and eventually takes her son to a happy reunion with his father in Lagos, Nigeria. She mixes accounts of Michael's struggles in school and his shoplifting episode with meditations on D.C.'s mean streets and meeting the mothers of sons killed by drugs or convicted of murder. Racism must be dismantled, she knows, but she also argues that the ``first line of defense against racism'' is self-discipline. And, she adds, just as forgiving Michael's father was a vital act of motherhood for her, black men and women must practice forgiveness of each other in order to help save their community. (Jan.)
Library Journal
In a sensitive and beautifully written autobiographical testimony, novelist Golden (Long Distance Life, LJ 9/1/89) interweaves diary entries with her exploration of what it means to parent a black male adolescent in the turmoil of today's society. Her understanding is heightened by the fact that for the first decade of his life she raised her son in Nigeria, a country largely free of racism and violence that reveres young males. Golden's fears and hopes make the problems of crime and violence, racism, and parenting very real. A book whose readership should not be limited to African Americans, this is strongly recommended for every library. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/94.]-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake College, Wye Mills, Md.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385473033
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/1995
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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