Everybody's Son: A Novel

Everybody's Son: A Novel

by Thrity Umrigar


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The bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The World We Found deftly explores issues of race, class, privilege, and power and asks us to consider uncomfortable moral questions in this probing, ambitious, emotionally wrenching novel of two families—one black, one white—now updated to include an essay detailing the story behind the book, an in-depth reader’s guide, and an excerpt from the author’s newest novel.

“The writing is clear, nuanced, and gorgeous...eloquently and heartbreakingly homes in on America’s problem with race, entitlement, and class, and uncovers all the compromises we get to make—but only if we are lucky enough to be born in the right neighborhood.”— Boston Globe

During a terrible heat wave in 1991, ten-year-old Anton has been locked in an apartment in the projects, alone, for seven days, without air conditioning or a fan. With no electricity, the refrigerator and lights do not work. Hot, hungry, and desperate, Anton shatters a window and climbs out. Cutting his leg on the broken glass, he is covered in blood when the police find him.

Juanita, his mother, is discovered in a crack house less than three blocks away, nearly unconscious and half-naked. When she comes to, she repeatedly asks for her baby boy. She never meant to leave Anton—she went out for a quick hit and was headed right back, until her drug dealer raped her and kept her high. Though the bond between mother and son is extremely strong, Anton is placed with child services while Juanita goes to jail.

The Harvard-educated son of a US senator, Judge David Coleman is a scion of northeastern white privilege. Desperate to have a child in the house again after the tragic death of his teenage son, David uses his power and connections to keep his new foster son, Anton, with him and his wife, Delores—actions that will have devastating consequences in the years to come.

Following in his adopted family’s footsteps, Anton, too, rises within the establishment. But when he discovers the truth about his life, his birth mother, and his adopted parents, this man of the law must come to terms with the moral complexities of crimes committed by the people he loves most.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062912930
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,197,666
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Thrity Umrigar is the author of seven novels Everybody’s Son, The Story Hour, The World We Found, The Weight of Heaven, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time; a memoir, First Darling of the Morning; and a children’s picture book, When I Carried You in My Belly. A former journalist, she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard and was a finalist for the PEN Beyond Margins Award. A professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.


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Everybody's Son: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this
Laeljeanne More than 1 year ago
After the death of his son, Judge Coleman uses his influence and connections to foster and adopt 9-year-old African-American Anton, convincing his mother Anton is happier with the Colemans. She’d been kidnapped and drugged by her dealer, leaving Anton locked in their apartment during a heat wave with little food, until he escaped a week later, unaware of his mother’s whereabouts. Judge Coleman’s position and wealth boost Anton up through the ranks of politics, with Anton choosing to have no contact with a mother he believes rejected him. The secrets seep out eventually, damaging the Coleman’s marriage and Anton’s relationships with all of his parents, as Anton desperately tries to determine his identity. The crux of the story is that a black mother’s son is stolen from her by a white man, whiffs of slavery nipping at her heels. As Umrigar presents white privilege and systemic racism within the judicial system, she attempts to garner sympathy for a man in a powerful position based on the loss of his son and his emotional distress debating his desire to have a child and the ethical choice to keep a family together. He chooses poorly and everyone struggles with his decision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book. Did not want to put it down.
juicedbooks More than 1 year ago
I do think that this book by the renowned Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us, is going to become a huge hit because it touches on a nerve in our current political climate. That nerve is one that deals with a lot of things: the dueling sense of right and wrong, what it means for something to be stolen, and what family is defined as. To put it in more concrete terms, here's your quick summary: Anton is a 7-year-old who is told by his mother to stay put for awhile before she locks the apartment door. He expects a few hours, but she is gone for a week as Anton deals with a heat wave in an apartment without electricity. She was off buying drugs and got kidnapped by her dealer. This does not matter to the state, who puts Anton into the foster care system, where he is picked up by Judge David Coleman and his wife Delores, who have lost a son in an accident. They take Anton in for a few weeks and David falls in love with him. They decide they cannot be without him, and the Judge uses his political power to keep Anton away from his mother and adopt him. When Anton is thirty years old, he finds this information and must decide who his parents really are. This book is one gray area after another. Whatever your political views are, you will have a surprisingly hard time deciding who you care about in this book and which parents you want to extend forgiveness to. In that sense, you struggle right along with Anton, the true victim in this story, despite the pain of the family that he is wrenched away from. The ending is haunting, and the history of racism in this country will weigh heavy on you for days after finishing this book. It's an important reminder of things we all need to be considering at this time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written beautifully, with rich honesty
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this author, but this book lacked the depth of her other books. I did not find the characters and their actions believable, the complex issues addressed by this book were too easily forgiven and resolved. It felt like a lifetime movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many layers to this tale