Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A welcome and needed glimpse into the life and mind of a young, black male in Chicago, Everywhere You Don’t Belong is set amidst historical riots and landmark events. Claude is an intelligent but conflicted youth growing up in a broken and chaotic home that makes up with love and humor what it lacks in convention. As he grows, you witness the path that shapes his tender heart, leading him into a bright future.
Bump’s unique writing style lends to the raw and intense subject matter while hinting at the youthfulness of the main character and author. Highlighting a quiet soul amongst a violent background, he serves an insight into what can often be difficult to interpret amidst political and racial tension. Throughout the story, you’re introduced to a wide range of characters, with many temporary roles and very few permanent structures. Oddball guardians, Paul and Grandma, offer a comedic respite from the tragic routine of the South Shore, while Janice supplies a friendly and romantic relationship rife with angsty teen realism.
Reading this is an experience that will stay with me for awhile and I look forward to sharing this book with friends and readers.
Many thanks to Algonquin Books for a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions are my own.
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