Becky's Reviews > Fortunate Son

Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley
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Dec 30, 2007

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Read in December, 2007

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 history.

Fortunate Son is a powerful allegory of America's race and class divides. Frankly, it's depressing as hell. I was saddened by the casualness with which Mosley relates the horrors of street life that Tommy endures. This felt deliberate to me: "Wake up, reader," Mosley seems to say, "Poor black men like this get beat down. Rich white men succeed, sometimes without deserving it. This is what I see around me every day. What else is new?"

Having said that, the book's stuck with me--a compelling warning or parable, or perhaps both.
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