Molly's Reviews > Man Gone Down

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas
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's review
Nov 30, 2008

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Read in November, 2008

The author does an incredible job of portraying the anxiety felt by a young black father of three, a writer, out of work, who feels ultimately accountable to his white wife and the world she has always lived in that he pretends to be a part of. It bluntly dispells any notion that, even in New York, even with three children by a white woman he loves, this man can for a moment walk down the street without being acutely aware of his race and others' reaction to it. As the narrator, every encounter he has is defined in terms of how he perceives himself as a black man and how he perceives others' perception of him. If it sounds like that might get tiresome, it's not quite as overt a lens as I've made it seem. The book flashes back to the narrator's adolescence outside of Boston, featuring addictions to alcohol and drugs. A couple of too-long flashbacks to particularly noteworthy trips got a little too metaphysical for my taste. Long and short, the book puts you inside a man's head for the four days of his life when his struggle with his and his family's (different) races comes to a head as he loses all the things that had quieted that struggle for years: money, apartment, daily grind of kids and job.

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