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Fortunate Son

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,197 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
New York Times bestselling author Walter Mosley's novel about two boys, one ensconced in a life of privilege and the other in a life of hardship, explores the true meaning of fortune.In spite of remarkable differences, Eric and Tommy are as close as brothers. Eric, a Nordic Adonis, is graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune. Tommy is a lame black boy, cursed w ...more
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published April 10th 2006 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2006)
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Black Caucus of the ALA Award Winners - Fiction
30th out of 125 books — 107 voters
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Black History Month
98th out of 389 books — 371 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pete
Oct 20, 2014 Pete rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, usa
"Books don't move me like when I was a kid," I told the librarian yesterday. "Every time I read, the experience becomes a little less special."
"You're reading the wrong books."

I've read so many, lately, that that was hard to accept, in the moment. And then I read this in one sitting. It's strangely moving and thought provoking and, at times, amateurishly written, with dialogue, descriptions and a final plot twist that are so poorly constructed as to make me feel embarrassed on behalf of Walter M
...more
Kinga
Huh? Seriously? This book was really badly written. I don't have a copy with me right now so I can't quote. Just take my word for it. I can't believe anyone is taking this novel seriously. The story was somewhat interesting. However, Mosley knows only one device to move the plot forward - kill somebody off, I guess this is what happens when a crime writer tries to write something outside of his genre, it was ridiculous - people were dying like flies.
It read like a manuscript sent to a publisher
...more
David
Jan 02, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished "Little Yellow Dog" and immediately started another Mosley book, and another one after that, to the extent that tells you something. After finishing "Fortunate Son," I cast about for any book by any other author, to the extent that tells you something.

"Fortunate Son" is at once quintessential Mosley and at the same time a big departure for him. It's essentially a fairy tale of America, and the magical realism is a new toy for him (one he seems to enjoy playing with). Yet the treatment
...more
PJ
Dec 11, 2008 PJ rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books with so much humanity, so much beauty, that it alone could sustain my sometimes delicate faith in people. It is a rare meditation on what it means to pass through our world and what, if any, effect we leave on it. Lit snobs like to question what a work says about the human condition. This book asks a lot of questions about the human condition.
Debra Humphrey
May 24, 2013 Debra Humphrey rated it really liked it
This is the story of two close brothers, one white (Eric), one black (Thomas), separated when they were 6 years old and reunited at 19. The two have vastly different lives during their separation. Thomas is the intuitive, saintly, and passive one. He accepts and surrenders to life's most horrible twists of fate. He is abandoned, beaten, imprisoned, raped and yet does not hold a grudge. Seemingly simple and guileless, everyone who is around him for any length of time is influenced by his goodness ...more
Joe
Feb 06, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it
I always wanted to read a novel by Walter Mosely and I was not disappointed by this, my first. Indeed, as I read Fortunate Son, I found myself thinking that I had never read any novel quite like this one.

The plot is incredible though a bit complex to easily explain. In a brutal nutshell two "brothers", one black and one white, are raised together from birth in a posh Beverly Hills home. Their idyllic childhood is shattered when their black mother dies and Thomas' biological father reclaims him a
...more
Cheryl
Jun 10, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Honey, honey, honey. This book. First let me say, I have never read a Walter Mosley book- not into reading Mystery. Why not? No clue. Just never struck my fancy. So as I was scrolling through his book list on the library's website, I saw this one and the blurb was interesting. So I got it and I spent all day in bed yesterday until I finished this book. My heart ached for Thomas. I cried so hard, I got a headache and had to go to sleep. I can't say this book was amazing, but I can say that I was ...more
Christopher Roberts
Walter Mosley's books are usually filled with observations on race relations and other interesting social topics, so this book seemed like it would be a winner. It followed two boys, Eric who is white and privileged, and Tommy who is black and raised in abuse and poverty. The boys were at first brothers in the same household when Tommy's mother and Eric's father fall in love but when Tommy's mother dies his abusive father takes him away.

The theme that Mosley does the most with is how affluenc
...more
Nick
Jul 29, 2009 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
I have been such a big fan of Mosely's mysteries that I grabbed at this audiobook on the shelf of my local library. Wow, it's like the bastard love child of Richard Wright and Danielle Steele, a series of sappy, cloying, breathless, nearly ridiculous love relationships grafted onto social commentary about how some folks become homeless. A black boy and a white boy grow up and then apart after their parents have an affair. Through a series of plot contrivances and meditations on eternal character ...more
Linda Rowland
Jun 20, 2015 Linda Rowland rated it really liked it
One reviewer said it was like the love-child of Richard Wright and Danielle Steel, or something like that. It seemed more to me to be D.S. becoming R.W.
I am a fan of Easy Rawlins but have not been able to get interested in any other series. Thought I might like this stand alone novel. Guess I did since I picked it up and did not put it down until I was done.
Renee
Jan 14, 2011 Renee rated it liked it
I listened to this book on audio and although I gave it a decent rating, I almost did not continue reading/listening after the first couple of chapters as the story was beyond syrupy and sanguine. It was like the author was going out of his way to poke holes in all stereotypes in chapter one, so he could use the remaining chapters just to illustrate them.
White boy got everything.
Black boy ain't got nothin'.

And it pretty much goes like that. White people are all advantaged and take it for grant
...more
MavLit Publishing
Dec 14, 2008 MavLit Publishing rated it it was amazing

A compelling work. It leaves the reader really wishing good for one of the main characters who seems to have experienced all the bad breaks one could ever happen in life.
girlwonder
Dec 05, 2007 girlwonder rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: someone on a plane or bus.
This book was awful. An unsuccessful parable about race in the US. It was very readable in the way that bad tv can be very watchable. But often so bad I wanted to scream.
Carol Drufke-Zeller
Sep 03, 2012 Carol Drufke-Zeller rated it did not like it
Hmm, I came away from this not really being able to say this was a read I felt benefited me in any kind of way. The story itself was enough to keep you reading, but at times the pace of the story threw you off. The manner in which the author portrayed the passing of time felt phony. The character development was good, but the characters themselves were boring in an odd sort of way, despite these "unique" lives they seemed to be living. Most of the times the characters felt simply like characters ...more
Jackie
Jun 23, 2010 Jackie rated it really liked it
Shelves: touching
I'd read maybe one Walter Mosley book before picking this up at the library the other day when I was looking for another Christopher Moore novel. I liked the cover, and the leaf was interesting, and I started reading the first page and unintentionally got several pages into it before I realized I was going to have to check it out and finish it.

This book was interesting to me in two ways, and many aspects about it have stayed with me since I read it. It is a story of two brothers, one black, one
...more
Barbara
May 07, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-novel
I loved this book. (In what follows I'm excerpting from the Goodreads review and adding my own twist.) The book is about two boys, one ensconced in a life of privilege; the other, in a life of hardship. Using this rich context the author explores the true meaning of fortune. Eric is a Nordic Adonis, graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune. Tommy is a lame black boy, slowed down by chronic health problems, who remains optimistic and strong and the savior of many. After tragedy rips t ...more
Becky
Dec 30, 2007 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a toughie to read. Tommy, a young African-American boy, and Eric, a young white boy, are raised as brothers...then traumatically separated when Tommy's mother dies and his real family comes to claim him. Mosley skims fairly quickly over the boys' resulting lives--drug-dealing and crime for the sensitive Tommy, college, girlfriends, and an All-American charmed path for the heartless Eric. The story picks back up when the young men reunite and try to make sense of their intertwined histor ...more
Patricia
Aug 26, 2011 Patricia rated it liked it
This book was written in an odd style--very simplistically, with very little character development. I'd be interested to know if Mosley always writes like that. He uses what I guess I'd call magic realism, like some Latin American authors, in his story about 2 brothers that becomes a parable of the black and white races in the US. The white brother is huge, beautiful and gifted with the ability to make everyone like him and everyone do his bidding, but he is also dangerous in an uncanny way and ...more
Lindsey
Sep 07, 2012 Lindsey rated it liked it
This book is a different take on a brother to brother relationship. I enjoyed this story, it was very well written and I liked each character even though they were flawed. It was a raw emotional story that kept me reading until the last page. I hoped for the best for the two brothers from different worlds, who had different paths and experiences in their lives, but still loved and cared for each other more than they did in their other relationships. I would recommend this novel because it is a d ...more
Carole Sim
I Really liked this book. It seems a bit naive and simple to begin with but the characters grow on you as they develop and you want it to end well for them. Captivating story of love and racism, two families who come together, two lives torn apart and the bonds that bind them forever.
Jack
Feb 01, 2008 Jack rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Troy
Jul 23, 2012 Troy rated it really liked it
Shelves: wmosley
This is more of a tale about being thankful than anything else, I think, but isn't so hamfisted or schmaltzy for you to miss it. Sure, THomas has been in the lapt of luxury, but he got pulled out of it to be mistreated in almost every way possible. And after all of that? He's still thankful. Eric is the Golden Boy, for whom nothing goes wrong, but he too has issues: people gravitate to him and react to him in a very human way, a way I've seen firsthand with people I myself know.

A page turner th
...more
Joy Wilson
One of the best work of fiction I have read this year

This book made me angry, sad, joyful, and astonished. The characters are believable and well-crafted. The book is truly thought provoking regarding what it means to be happy and fortunate; in addition, it makes you think about the stories we tell ourselves and each other. Ahn's history and beliefs drive the things each boy believed about himself and his place in the world. Branwyn was with us for far too short a time, and yet, she was present
...more
sisraelt
Nov 06, 2014 sisraelt rated it it was amazing
R
Stewart
Jun 19, 2015 Stewart rated it it was ok
Shelves: no-longer-own
I really didn't get this book. It seemed like Walter Mosley was trying to channel Toni Morrison with this odd tale of two boys, one black and one white, growing up together and apart in Los Angeles. One problem with telling a tale that spans 20 years is that you have to gloss over huge swaths of time, and in the context of this novel, it tended to blunt any kind of emotional payoff.

I think Mosley's at his best when his characters are trying to beat the clock, when there's a sense of urgency that
...more
Lisa
Nov 12, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Don't let the title mislead you. Mosley has once again proven why he should be shelved next to the greats. Fortunate Son made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I found myself cheering for all the characters including the ones Mosley portrayed as not so deserving of my compassion. This book is a fine example of why people come into our lives for a reason or just for a season. A must read for any Walter Mosley fan.
Lorrea(WhatChaReadin'?)
I could not wait to finish this book. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Eric and Thomas, brothers from different mothers. Eric the son of a doctor. Thomas spent the first months of his life in the hospital. After Thomas's mom dies their entire lives are ripped apart and for 18 years they go without seeing each other. When they are reunited it is tradgedy that brings them together just as it tore them apart.
Deb
Oct 24, 2007 Deb rated it it was ok
Uh, I had higher hopes for this book, very disappointing. I mean, the story was decent and I liked the characters, but the way it was written was so cliched I was dyin. So literal, as if someone was writing for the first time and didn't know the phrases he was using were old as the hills and just as tired. Of course, I've never written a novel, so I can't slam it too hard...
Thea
Jun 28, 2015 Thea rated it liked it
This book had so much going for it; I wanted to give it more stars but it had too many things about it that bothered me. I loved the elements of magical surrealism in the book for example, when Lucky was in the garden talking to Alisha or his mother. I also loved the idea of two brothers one white, one black, separated at a young age. Then Walter Mosley took it too far for me, the idea of a "Golden boy" wasn't bad but then he added a "Golden girl" both these characters had an inability to love t ...more
Janet Carroll
Aug 16, 2015 Janet Carroll rated it it was amazing
By far one of the most thought-proving reads. The story revolves around two boys both born on the same day, in the same hospital. One is healthy from well-to-do parents. The other is born to a single mother. One's mother died giving birth and the other baby has been given a veritable death sentence by doctors. By magic or attraction or whatever else one believes in, the two single parents fall into love. The boys live together until the age of six when one boy loses his parent and is forced to l ...more
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more
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