Standing at the Scratch Line Standing at the Scratch Line Standing at the Scratch Line
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Standing at the Scratch Line Standing at the Scratch Line Standing at the Scratch Line (Tremain Family Saga #1)

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  332 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Raised in the steamy bayous of New Orleans in the early 1900s, LeRoi "King" Tremain, caught up in his family's ongoing feud with the rival DuMont family, learns to fight. But when the teenageKing mistakenly kills two white deputies during a botched raid on the DuMonts, the Tremains' fear of reprisal forces King to flee Louisiana.
King thus embarks on an adventure that firs...more
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Published June 12th 2001 by Villard Books (first published December 1st 1998)
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Wow. What a great book! Not at all what I expected. Completely unique, which is kind of a shame. I mean, why hasn't a story like this been told before? A pre-Civil Rights story about an African American male who is not a door mat shouldn't be such a novel concept, but it is. Yes, the fact that he is almost a super-human hero was a bit hard for me to swallow at first. But then I remembered that I have read lots of books with similar off-the-charts, Superman-like male protagonists (spys, assassins...more
All males should read this book. Strong, positive and loyal AA male figure.
I stumbled upon Guy Johnson and his work while searching for “Pym” by Mat Johnson at my local library. I gave it a shot and was surprised with “Standing at the Scratch Line”. King Tremain is a complex and well layered character that honestly made me want to understand his train of thought and look into his future.

Johnson used a lot of different characters like Serena, Big Ed, and Darwin “The Professor” Morris to give us a view of various characters that were involved in King’s life. Honestly, I...more
Kimberly Carmen
This book had me thinking about what KING TREMAIN would do in certain situations. He is a simple yet complex man in his relationships with those around him. Family took form as blood relatives, people he trusted and of course his military associates. He was no nonsense and upfront. His knack for taking what he wanted chimed throughout the entire book. However, he was not a selfish man.

Early in the book LeRoi "King" Tremain is sent away from his family for his actions while protecting his family...more
King Tremain is a complex character with many layers and dimensions. I admired his strength, appreciated his love of family and honor, his courage was sexy and his dark side was scary but necessary.

The story is exciting, thought provoking and cathartic. Social, psychological, financial and emotional issues are all addressed in this creative story of love, loss, growth and maturity. I can see each of character in this book. From the international scene of World War I to streets of Harlem and from...more
This is my absolute favorite book!!! I read this book over 10 years ago & it is still my favorite!! King Tremain was a man's man despite being black during an era when being black meant being less than. He didn't take no mess from anyone! No other book has completely enthrallled me and has me wishing for more stories about the main character!!! I would live to see this book made into a movie!

I was so moved by the main character that I kept giving my husband updates while being pregnant with...more
This is my favorite book hands down; I have never been so excited about a character in a book before where I visualized that the character was myself. The main character in this book is a strong, wise, fearless, family oriented, loving brother that will not back down from any situation in order to protect the ones he care for and love. Guy Johnson, the author, also drops tid bits of history in this book (i love authors who do that), with the history he weaves in this story it encourages you to g...more
One of my all time favorite books, this is fabulous . It would make a great movie!
This has to be one of the best books I read. What I hate is he only published 2 books and stopped
I enjoy this book at the beginning, but unfortunately the author could not keep my first impression throughout the whole book. The principal problem was that his main character, King, was never truly known by the reader. The author could not make King come alive to me. He was almost like a mythical avenger toward everyone who is evil or has done evil to his people. I never got to know the character, King, I just read about him. Maybe I was supposed to hate King, maybe I was supposed to love King...more
WOW!! This was one of the most exciting books I've ever read----truly a page turner. The story spans the years from WWI through WWII giving a unique perspective of the African American experience in that time frame. The author has depicted King Tremain, the main character, as a strong, proud, Black man during a time when it was especially difficult to survive the constant indignities of racism. The reader follows Kings as he leaves his teens in Louisiana, participates in a segregated army unit i...more
Beverly Barthiel
Wow! This book takes you on an exciting adventure from WWI through WWII. King Tremain the central character is a "man's man". He goes through life on his own terms. He is at heart family oriented even though he is extremely tough. I love this book.
Aug 25, 2009 Deanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone 18+
Recommended to Deanie by: Olivette Thompson
This is the first installment of a family saga written by Guy Johnson, son of Maya Angelou. Obviously he inherited her gift for communicating. The novel spans from 1916-1946 through larger-than-life protagonist LeRoi Boudreaux Tremain-aka King. From the trenches of WWI to 1940s San Francisco, by way of Harlem and New Orleans, King takes part in a family feud at 14, fights with the all-black 369th Regiment in the fields of Alsace-Lorraine, does battle with the mob, the KKK and law enforcement age...more
I really enjoyed this book. It was very detailed and chronicled King's life well. There was no point that I wondered what would happen without reading about it later. When the book ended, I wasn't thinking, " I wonder what happened to ....."
But yes, it was looooooong!! but with the detail provided the length of the book was warranted.
This Klantastic account of a psychotically angry African-American killing all who stand against him (including plenty of Klansman) would make a fucking awesome blaxsploitation film. The language is pretty simplistic, though, by no means a great book, but a fun ride. The author is the son of Maya Angelou, btw. I listened to it as an audio book, and the reader did a great job with black vernacular, but had some difficulty sounding like the racist crackers of the South. He should have impersonated...more
Melissa Leggon allen
This book was wonderfully descriptive and had you cheering for King immediately. An awesome read, I could see this as a movie.
Sam Reaves
There's nothing like a big historical epic to keep me up at night. This one takes us into the under-explored territory of the African American experience in the early twentieth century. A tough Louisiana backwoods kid has to flee the bayous after killing a sheriff's deputy; he serves in the segregated U.S. Army in World War I and then comes back to Jazz Age Harlem and points west in a country where he is a second-class citizen, fighting for respect the whole way. The dialogue is a bit stilted at...more
Debra Odom
I was sorry to see this book end. This book was outstanding!
I feel conflicted about this book. I wanted to love it since I love Maya Angelou. But I did not really like his writing style. Some things were very predictable and cliche. However, I read the whole thing. Lol! Typically I would have just stopped reading a book that I wasn't enjoying more. Despite the writing style, I wanted to know what happened next. I enjoyed that the story revealed parts of the story of this country from a voice not usually heard. Glad I finished. Wouldn't read it again. I l...more
I fell in love with these characters.
This was an excellent saga!
Crystal Marie
One of the best books I've ever read. I recommended it to a friend, who hates reading, which was a bold move bc of it's length, and he loved it. It's got drama, suspense, romance, lots of action, gore, everything you could ever ask for. a true great piece of historical fiction.
If you can ignore some of the lengthy descriptions (unless you like that), and don't mind that you may have to look up some words, you will love this book.
I've read it multiple times and it still captivates me every time.
This book was recommended to our book club members by an author that said it was his favorite book. I was a little intimidated when I saw how many pages it had, but I kept reading. In the end I thought that this was a really good book as well. I'm interested in finding out what happens to King and Serena's family, so I'm definitely going to purchase the sequel immediately. Just as someone recommended it to us, I would definitely recommend it for others to read. Guy Johnson did a wonderful job!!!
I am a fan of sagas and this has now became one of my favorites. I personally did not like King Tremain as a person very much but I admired his goals, dreams, and determination for fairness. I also did not like his wife because of how deceitful and selfish she was. I truly loved the side characters and wished Guy Johnson would have pumped some of their warmth and likability into King and his wife. I will read the followup because I am now a fan of Guy Johnson's writing.
What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man! King Tremaine (Johnson's protagonist) defied race, class, and life in Jim Crow America to become one of the most memorable, unconventional heroes I've ever had the pleasure of being infatuated by.
This was an amazing family drama/epic..So good I recommended it to someone who taught me everything I know about good books (my dear father)and he loved it too so know it is definitely worth checking out..You will find yourself lost in the world of the powerful King Tremain fighting with him, despising his enemies, becoming appalled by his wife and hopeful for the next generation and part Two...
Great book! I'm ready to read part 2
Rhonda Townsend
THE BEST BOOK EVER . . . I got this book as a gift and didn't even pick it up for two years. Stupid, Stupid me ! This book is excellent from beginning to end. Guy Johnson's characters are so well written and developed you can't put the book down. King Tremain, the main character is my new HERO. This is a book everyone at some point in time should read.
An exciting, fast paced and unique book. I love the way Guy Johnson weaved African American history into the story on 'King' Tremain. King does what many black men of that time probably wanted to do when confronted with the racism of the time. I think this book and its follow up, Echoes of a Distant Summer, would make a great miniseries. One of my favorite reads.
Nov 22, 2008 Rocio rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Excellent read. This is the book for those of us who are tired of taking everyone's bull. Shoot em up bang bang...
There are also strong historical references. I just finished this book and it was amazing. Really took me to another place and time. The kind of book where you look around and are surprised to see yourself still in the sameplace.
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