Sleepaway School: A Memoir

Sleepaway School: A Memoir

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by Lee Stringer
     
 

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Like his brother before him, Stringer was surrendered to foster care, shortly after birth, by his unwed and underemployed mother—a common practice for unmarried women in mid-century America. Less common was that she returned six years later to reclaim her children. Rather than leading to a happy ending, though, this is where Stringer's story begins. The clash

Overview

Like his brother before him, Stringer was surrendered to foster care, shortly after birth, by his unwed and underemployed mother—a common practice for unmarried women in mid-century America. Less common was that she returned six years later to reclaim her children. Rather than leading to a happy ending, though, this is where Stringer's story begins. The clash of being poor and black in an affluent, largely white New York suburb begins to foment pain and rage which erupts, more often than not, when he is at school. One violent episode results in his expulsion from the sixth grade and his subsequent three-year stint at Hawthorne, the "sleepaway school" of the title.

What follows is an intensely personal, American journey: a universal story of childhood where childhood universals are absent. We experience how a child fashions his life out of the materials given to him, however threadbare. This is a "boy-meets-world" story, the chronicle of one child’s struggle simply to be.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
After a violent temper outburst in his suburban classroom, 12-year-old Caverly Stringer is sent to "sleepaway school," the Cedar Knolls school for children at risk, in Westchester County, New York. While the boys in the school are mostly Jewish, Stringer is African American, the very angry younger son of two sons being raised by a single mother. In over 30 fairly short, intensely riveting chapters, Stringer recounts the two years in the 1960s in which he gradually came to an emerging sense of self-value and a feeling of accomplishment. He learned, haltingly, to make friends and to utilize his own creative talents. The sleepaway school Stringer depicts is not a warm, cozy place: it is rough and sometimes severe. It becomes, nevertheless, a place of growth and hope in this beautifully written memoir. KLIATT Codes: SA*--Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Seven Stories Press, 227p., $13.95.. Ages 15 to adult.
—Patricia Moore

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583227015
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
01/15/2005
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

LEE STRINGER's journey from childhood homelessness in the ’60s, to adult homelessness in the ’80s, to his present career as a writer and lecturer, as told in Sleepaway School and Grand Central Winter, is one of the great odysseys of contemporary American life and letters. Stringer is the only board member of Project Renewal who is also a former patient of the facility. He is the two-time recipient of the Washington Irving Award and, in 2005, a Lannan Foundation Residency. He is a former editor of and columnist for Street News. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of other publications, including the Nation, the New York Times, and Newsday. He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, where he also serves on the board of the Mamaroneck Public Libraries.

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Sleepaway School 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago