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They Tell Me of a Home
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They Tell Me of a Home

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  624 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas—a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and a Ph.D. in black studies force him back to his rural origins as he seeks to understand himself and the black community that produced him. A cold, nonchalant father and an emotionall ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 1st 2005)
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I Be Reading
Feb 02, 2012 I Be Reading rated it it was ok
I would give the concept behind this novel 4 stars. I am generally a big fan of "prodigal son" type stories and, to Daniel Black's credit, I was intrigued enough by the big family secret to finish reading the novel.

However, I would give basically everything else zero stars. I found this novel entirely too melodramatic and preachy and if he hadn't taken potshots at the Black church, Tyler Perry could very well have written this novel.

Black spent several chapters using various characters as a way
Jul 13, 2012 Kimberly rated it really liked it
This story took you on a journey back in time when there was so much sadness, incest, forgiveness and misunderstandings in the black community. There were plenty of secrets being kept. There were times in the story that you cried and then times your were mad. But, through it all there was so much inspiration that came from this journey in time. It was sad to see that some people back then looked for love in all the wrong places and misplaced who they should love and who loved them.

This was my f
Mar 24, 2012 Trudy rated it liked it
Well, I've certainly had mixed feelings about this book. At first, I enjoyed it. Midway through, I was seriously ready to leave it. Towards the end, I enjoyed it again. Here is what I loved: Some of the stories told during the Friday evening gatherings "under the Tree" made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. Also the notion that no person's motives are rarely just black or white, but complicated with various shades of gray and other stuff is surely reinforced here. In addition, this book valid ...more
Zanetta Robinson
Mar 01, 2014 Zanetta Robinson rated it liked it
I...I cant e'en BEGIN to comment or review yet. Just. !!!

Edit 8/5/12 11:34 a.m.: I'm almost ready to review this novel. It's taking me some time to digest it all and sort out my feelings. Off the top of my head, I think the characters were interesting and relatively well developed; he gave the relationships an earnest complexity; he captured the rhythm, cadence and beauty of Black Vernacular English; he wrote compellingly about the search for self; he revealed the sights, smells, sounds, hopes,
Mar 31, 2011 Keri rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, 2011
What a wonderful read!!! I am so glad I came across this one. I laughed outloud many times but also read with a heavy heart. I beautifully told story. A bit predictable at times but that is alright becuase it really was a good read! I think this will be the kind of book I like even more as time passes.

The flow of the book might take a little getting into as a good portion of the text is done in what is supposed to be a poor black southern dialect. I found it enjoyable to read. There is a lot of
Cathleen Dungy
Aug 13, 2015 Cathleen Dungy rated it really liked it
I suspect that this book and and the one after it are based on he author's own life story. This kept me intrigued and moved. If you are interested in reading about someone's journey in life, you will enjoy this book and "Twelve Gates ..."
M.C. Walker
Jun 01, 2014 M.C. Walker rated it it was ok
This book was a book club selection for the month of May. I was not to enthused to pick up this book, but I kept an open mind from the beginning. After reading Perfect Peace, I was a little leery of reading a second book by the author. From chapter one I was pulled into the story and instantly like the character. The more I read, I felt like I was drowning in a lot of back story. I was patiently waiting for the ball to drop and eventually it did around Chapter 5 I think and even then it didn't m ...more
Kimberly Hicks
Feb 07, 2013 Kimberly Hicks rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Kimberly by: Goodreads
I don't know if I'm just getting more sentimental in my older age (wink, wink) or if Daniel Black just has a way of evoking such strong emotions into his characters, that I feel as though he's speaking directly to me. Obviously, that's a sign of a dynamic writer, which he is. This book was so outstanding, I don't even know where to begin.

T.L. Tyson goes home because he was summoned there by an invisible force so strong, he couldn't ignore it--and, for good reason. Once he gets home, he is plague
Mar 03, 2008 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing literary experience! They Tell Me of a Home tells the story of a prodigal son of sorts, who returns to his rural Arkansas birthplace for answers to the existential questions we all face. For anyone with roots in the African American communities of the South, the author's use of dialect and keen attention to detail will instantly transport you to the place from whence you came. For those unfamiliar with the Deep South, Dr. Black serves as tour guide and cultural ambassador.

The boo
May 04, 2013 Cileane rated it it was amazing
I have always been a reader. A lover of books. A love I inherited from my mother. I loved (and love) the feeling of being transplanted into whatever world I happened to be reading about. However, NEVER have I EVER read any book that moved me to so many emotional highs and lows. My senses were constantly yanked from one emotion to another, and in rapid speed! Every single chapter was an emotional and tumulus roller coaster, dipping and swinging around curves I never saw coming. The lives of these ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Titilayo rated it liked it
You will want this book to be a marriage of Ernest J. Gaines and A Perfect Peace. It is not. It is nothing like that. It is something severely different. In these pages you will find southern dialect and black folk culture busting out the seams. You will visit a family so burdened with secrets and dysfunction that it is torso deep in a quagmire of pain. You will find homoerotic male bonding and discourse on masculinity that make you even more confused than the convoluted plot.... Read it. I read ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Deanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was full of intrigue, humor and truth-telling that one finds in unexpected places like a rural, impoverished close-knit community. More importantly, it speaks to the contradictions and complexities of the concept of "home"...the longing and revulsion, the open secrets, the pride that breeds jealousy, etc. The story also confirms that "home" is not just a physical structure but the memories, people, places and things that evoke that feeling of being part of something.

I truly enjoyed i
May 03, 2015 Monique rated it really liked it

Was just getting into this book when I was reminded of a great book by this author -Perfect Peace which I absolutely loved and so really went hard with this book -however admittedly and unfortunately it wasn’t the book I expected though it was powerful, readable and recommended...So first off my respect and admiration for Mr. Black as this author is dedicated, eloquent and thoughtful and you can tell his books are a labor of love and necessity to enlighten; it is obvious just by reading a few p
Mar 27, 2015 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
This book!!! Black tells of a man who returns home in search of himself after ten years of being MIA. What he finds is far beyond what he thought he would. His family is full of secrets and just when you think that you can predict what will happen next in the story, it takes a turn and surprises you! Black's writing style is simple and educational. It flows like water into a cup and when you drink from it, it nourishes the soul's unknown thirst. The story is rich in African American, Southern, a ...more
Not as enjoyable as his Perfect Peace. The only reason why I finished it was because I peaked ahead and found out the "secret" then wanted to read how it came to be. This was not a good book. A tedious read.
LaSonya "I'm All Booked Up" Woodom
I thought I would never finish this book, only because I read the hardcover edition. Me and hardcover books do not mix well. I am a straight up paperback and ebook chick. lol

This book was very well written, just seemed a bit long. Loved the storyline and characters. Not as good as Perfect Peace but good nevertheless.
I really wanted to like this novel, because the premise sounded interesting. However, I was disappointed in the character development and the story itself...and I couldn't understand why the main character would have left his beloved sister behind.
I really enjoyed this book. there were parts that in some ways felt like home and others that were a little too much. but overall, it was a good read that I would recommend.
Jun 28, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
As I am just starting reading, it is another Daniel Black classic that is spell bounding. I can not wait to see what Tommy uncovers in his rural hometown, Swamp Creek, Arkansas.
Cheryl Durham
May 02, 2015 Cheryl Durham rated it it was amazing
Oh my word....where do I start. This was just breathtaking. It has been my second most favorite read this year. Daniel Black took this reader on a journey that had me laughing, crying, kicking, rooting for and against every secret that had been covered as well as the shame and truth that had to be revealed. The read also had me to pause to remember some of the most nostalgic events that have left me wondering, questioning and drawing conclusions about things I know and thought I knew.

TL, the maj
Jun 19, 2012 ND rated it really liked it
Quick read. Interesting plot and plot twists. Integrated historical and sociological information. I enjoyed it!
Leticia Collins
Aug 07, 2014 Leticia Collins rated it it was amazing
This book certainly left me wanting more at its end. I absolutely loved this book!!
Aug 26, 2015 Jane rated it liked it
This was a story about a black man from rural Arkansas who left his hometown ten years ago. He decided to come back to visit and in the process, found out a lot of things that turned his world upside down. As another reviewer said, I would give the concept of this book four stars. A lot of the dialogue just didn't seem realistic and way too dramatic. There were also some twists in the story line that had me roll my eyes a bit as they seemed to be included just to push boundaries instead of actua ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was so much to like about this book, it was very, very close to a five-star read.

I'll need to think a bit more before writing a review.


Okay, I am back to review this. Sadly, I have already read two other books since this one, and I know I won't be able to remember it in as good of detail as I would have liked.

They Tell Me of a Home is about the "prodigal" son, Thomas Lee, of an abusive father and a downright cruel and unloving mother. TL spends his childhood being rejected by
Oct 01, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
I almost put this book down because it is hard to read the main character's ideas of the Bible. He believes that it isn't the inspired work of God, but that it's just people writing what they think about God. This is a book about Black people in the South, so the presence of the Christian church was a must. The author painted it as a cultural norm, not a spiritual practice-- which is most likely very accurate in many cultures.

The book has plenty of twists and surprises to keep you reading. I'd
Tenacious Virgo
i really liked Perfect Peace. i had high hopes for this one but was thoroughly disappointed. while the story was interesting, the execution was horrible. the vocabulary was so heavy and EXTRA. then the overly religious and barely masked semi-autobiographical aspects... the weird George friendship that was introduced for absolutely no reason... sigh! the author tried to make "fetch happen" with this book in so many ways. he was unsuccessful.
Aug 27, 2015 Ja'londa rated it it was amazing
I am a reader who's moved by the many words it takes to string a novel together. This work carried that out beautifully. All the excess that other readers didn't feel too keen about is very key to me. In addition to that, it helped me discover some things about myself that had been fuzzy in the past, i.e. religion, the emotional makeup of man and etcetera. And being young with only a small bit of life experience, it was also helpful and insightful to hear many different walks about this life and ...more
Ashley Teagle
Nov 06, 2015 Ashley Teagle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this one so much more than "Perfect Peace." T.L. has recently earned his PhD and he returns home to Swamp Creek, his home that he has avoided for ten years.

Having heard Dr. Black speak before, I now read his work questioning how much of himself has he interjected into his novels.

This book feels authentic, complete with dialect and vivid descriptions of the hot Arkansas summer.

This book has a sequel, and I'm hopeful it wraps up the loose ends, which is what I didn't like about "Perfect P
Nov 25, 2014 Emmkay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finished reading it, and enjoyed doing so in a bemused kind of way. The protagonist, TJ, has just got his Phd in black studies and has returned unannounced for a visit to the rural Arkansas town he left a decade before. Some of the dialect was fun to read and flowed well, but it seemed like when not writing in dialect, Black wrote dialogue very awkwardly - I was always being surprised when in the midst of what I thought was a conversation in a normal tone of voice he would write "I screa ...more
Nancy Doerrer
Apr 14, 2015 Nancy Doerrer rated it did not like it
I could not finish this book---got through 200 pages, but the author's writing was too distracting. The dialogue between characters was fine; but the narrative was too poorly written. Too many other good books to read and too little time!
A great story but unfortunately poorly told
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NOTE: There is more than one author with this name on Goodreads.Daniel Black author of Be Careful What You Wish For

Daniel Black is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, yet spent the majority of his childhood years in Blackwell, Arkansas. He is an associate professor at his alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, where he now aims to provide an example to young Americans of the importance of self-knowled
More about Daniel Black...

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“Carrying a child is a sacred thing. There is a bond established between mother and child in the womb that lasts forever. The truth of this bond can never be erased.” 1 likes
“God already knowed what you was gon’ pray for befo’ you was eva born. He done already took yo’ requests into account when he was planning de world.” 0 likes
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