Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

by Charles M. Blow


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New York Times Notable Book | Lambda Literary Award Winner | Long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award

“Charles Blow is the James Baldwin of our age.” — Washington Blade

“[An] exquisite memoir . . . Delicately wrought and arresting.” — New York Times

Universally praised on its publication, Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a pioneering journalist’s indelible coming-of-age tale. 

Charles M. Blow’s mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a factory near their segregated Louisiana town, where slavery's legacy felt close. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot, thanks to “love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel.” Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his “do-right” mother. Until one day that divided his life into Before and After—the day an older cousin took advantage of the young boy. The story of how Charles escaped that world to become one of America’s most innovative and respected public figures is a stirring, redemptive journey that works its way into the deepest chambers of the heart.

“Stunning . . . Blow’s words grab hold of you . . . [and] lead you to a place of healing.” — Essence

“The memoir of the year.” — A. V. Club

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544570115
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 110,814
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

CHARLES M. BLOW has been a columnist at the New York Times since 2008 and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox New, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and HBO. He lives in Brooklyn with his three children.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 The House with No Steps 5

2 Thanksgiving 40

3 Chester 61

4 The Punic Next Door 82

5 Look-Away Jesus 110

6 Change 124

7 Another Boy's Baby 145

8 The Brothers 156

9 Hell Week 180

10 The Champagne-Colored Girl 190

11 Lie Detector 202

12 The Just-in-Case Gun 212

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