Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me

I usually am not to fond of receiving books as gifts, as what usually happens is well intentioned people tend to be well of the mark. For example I have for years received mediocre books by black authors just because people thought based solely on the race of the author, that it was something I might enjoy. I always try to be courteous, grateful, and will usually give the book a go despite any misgivings. I would like to say that you can't judge a book by its cover and that I've been pleasantly surprised, but thats usually not the case.

So when I saw the bookish looking gift under the tree from my future step dad I was instantly nervous. My first thought was, oh no religious book. But apparently you can't judge a book from its wrapping paper because I was pleasantly surprised with Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas. I have to admit, this is the only time I've ever received a book I wanted to read from anyone other than my closest and dearest friends.

Read an excerpt below from the NYT review:
I thought, when he was born, that his eyes would be closed. I didn’t know if he’d be sleeping or screaming, but that his eyes would be closed. They weren’t. They were big, almond shaped and copper — almost like mine. He stared at me. I gave him a knuckle and he gummed it — still staring. He saw everything about me: the chicken pox scar on my forehead, the keloid scar beside it, the absent-minded boozy cigarette burn my father had given me on my stomach. Insults and epithets that had been thrown like bricks out of car windows or spat like poison darts from junior high locker rows. Words and threats, which at the time they’d been uttered, hadn’t seemed to cause me any injury because they’d not been strong enough or because they’d simply missed. But holding him, the long skinny boy with the shock of dark hair and the dusky newborn skin, I realized that I had been hit by all of them and that they still hurt. My boy was silent, but I shushed him anyway — long and soft — and I promised him that I would never let them do to him what had been done to me. He would be safe with me.

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