Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton's hero is his grandfather, Cool Papa.  He taught Clayton how to play the blues harp, and often takes him to the park to play with his blues band.  At night, while Clayton's mother is at work, Cool Papa reading to Clayton from his favorite books.  Clayton wants nothing more than to be like Cool Papa and to play a solo with the band.

One night after a concert in the park, Cool Papa falls asleep and never wakes up.  Clayton is devastated.  His main father figure and best friend is gone.

His mother has resented her father for most of her life.  If he wasn't gone serving in the military, he was on the road playing the blues.  She barely tolerated him while he was alive, and now that he's gone, she wants to get rid of all traces he ever lived with them.

Clayton is so overwhelmed with anger and frustration he decides to run away.  Over the course of a day, he journeys through the city alone facing dangers and coming to terms with his feelings.

Rita Williams-Garcia's new novel is an honest exploration of grief and family relationships.  Recommended.

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