Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"You gotta know this stuff. And the earlier, the better. Life ain't always fair, and for some it's more unfair than others."

Scott Loring Sanders' new title, Gray Baby, begins with eight year old Clifton witnessing his African American father being beaten to death by two white police officers. This is a tragic beginning to what I think is a hopeful story. Following his father's death, the story moves forward eight years and Clifton's life has gotten only worse. Being biracial in a town that is not accepting, having a mother who is both depressed and an alcoholic, and living on the fringes of town with no one to really pay attention to him, Clifton thinks he will have a mundane summer. However, several events happen that change his life forever. First, he longs for a connection to the world, so he places notes in his mother's empty wine bottles and drops them in the river. The response he gets brings his story full circle in many ways. Second, he witnesses a kidnapping and may be the only person who can save the victim. But, can he put aside the fear he has had since his father's death? Finally, his mother is arrested for a DUI and sent to rehab, which forces Clifton to confront a family he has never met. There are so many layers of sadness to this book, yet somehow I felt hopful throughout the whole story. Even though many horrible events have taken place in Clifton's life, Loring somehow gave me the feeling that it would get better. Clifton would make it--and be better for the experiences he survived. According to the ARC, Gray Baby will be released in June 2009.

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