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Miracle's Boys
Cover of Miracle's Boys
Miracle's Boys
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Nothing is like it used to be. If it were, Mama would still be alive. Papa wouldn’t have died. And Charlie would still be the same old loving big brother to 13-year-old Lafayette, not a hostile...
Nothing is like it used to be. If it were, Mama would still be alive. Papa wouldn’t have died. And Charlie would still be the same old loving big brother to 13-year-old Lafayette, not a hostile...
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  • Nothing is like it used to be. If it were, Mama would still be alive. Papa wouldn’t have died. And Charlie would still be the same old loving big brother to 13-year-old Lafayette, not a hostile stranger, just back from doing time at a correctional facility. Oldest brother, Ty’ree, would have gone to college, instead of having to work full-time to support the three of them. And Lafayette wouldn’t be so full of questions, like why Mama had to die, why Charlie hates him so much now, and how they’re all supposed to survive these times together when so much seems to be set against them.
    Jacqueline Woodson brings us the story of three remarkable young men—brothers who have only each other to rely on and must decide whether they’ll work with that or let it tear them apart.
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter One "Brothers is the baddest. Then comes Dominicans. Dominicans don't mess around. I'm cool with Dominicans though. They don't mess with me, I don't mess with them.
    I lay back on my bed and listened to my brother Newcharlie talking. We had shared this room since the day I was born. And I swear since the day I was born, he'd been going on about who was the baddest. Used to be Puerto Ricans were the second baddest, but somewhere along the road their status dropped. Brothers were always at the top or the next ones down.
    Newcharlie wasn't talking to me. Since he'd gotten home from Rahway Home for Boys a few months ago, he never talked to me. He was combing his hair and talking to Aaron. They'd known each other forever to say "W's up" and stuff, but they didn't start hanging till Newcharlie came home from Rahway. Seems once Newcharlie saw the inside of Rahway, most of the guys around here who cut school, hung out real late, and got into all kinds of stuff thought he was some kind of wonderful. Aaron acted like he wanted to kiss the heels of Newcharlie's shoes, hanging on to Newcharlie's words like they were something special. And Newcharlie was just as stupid over Aaron. Hanging out with him like Aaron was his brother. Like Aaron was me.
    Newcharlie and Aaron were the same height and walked the same way, and now they had the same meanness. Aaron's meanness had always been around him. Even when we were small, we'd walk past him and he'd say something negative. Like when Mama used to make us go to church on Sundays. We'd be all dressed up walking to the bus stop, and Aaron'd say something like "Mama's church boys going to meet their maker." Or the time our big brother, Ty'ree, stopped him from snatching this little kid's Halloween bag. Aaron didn't take the bag, but he kept glaring over his shoulder as me and Ty'ree and the kid walked away, saying, "That's all right, church boy. That's all right." Like he had something waiting for us later on. Newcharlie's meanness was as new as his name. He'd come back from Rahway with it, and the way he and Aaron hung so tight, you'd think he didn't remember those days when we crossed to the other side of the street when we saw Aaron and his boys hanging out.
    I watched Newcharlie part his hair on the side and comb it one way, then shake his head, part it on the other, and pull the comb through it again. His hair's curly, like our mama's was?jet-black curls that girls go crazy for. He's three years older than me but only a little bit taller, and at the rate he was going schoolwise, come this time next year, I'd be almost caught up with him. I'd just started seventh grade and Newcharlie was repeating ninth, but he didn't seem to care one way or the other.
    The old Charlie would have cared about me catching up to him. He would have sat down at the dining-room table and crammed, because he would have been embarrassed about me being in almost the same grade as him. See, the old Charlie had feelings. If Charlie saw a stray cat or dog, he'd start crying. Not out-and-out bawling, but he'd just see it and start tearing up.
    Sometimes, when we were out walking, he'd turn away real fast and I'd know it was because he saw the shadow of some stray animal and was wishing it wasn't out in the cold. Once he told me that some nights he lay in bed just praying for all the stray animals out there. There's a lot of them, you know, Charlie said. And probably not a whole lot of people praying for them. He told me about St. Francis of Assisi, how he was the guy who looked out for all the animals. He said him and St. Francis were the only two asking God to help those animals walking the cold streets not...

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Lafayette has to share his bedroom with the older brother he calls "New Charlie." Seems like the brother he knew and loved didn't come back from his stretch in the reformatory. This guy is more like a stranger than a brother. But now that Mama's dead, being able to stay in their NYC apartment with oldest brother Ty'ree hinges on whether or not Charlie can stay out of trouble. It might look grim for this family, but there's a lot of heart and warmth in this reading by Dulé Hill. Hill, who ironically plays a young man named Charlie on the TV drama "The West Wing," brings all three brothers to life in a low-key, boys-in-the-'hood performance that lets listeners feel the pain without ever losing hope. M.C. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 10, 2001
    Currently riding high with a role in TV's The West Wing, actor Hill's hip reputation and powerful performance here are a perfect match for Woodson's affecting novel about three orphaned African-American brothers struggling to stay together and survive on their own in contemporary New York City. Hill narrates as sensitive, 13-year-old Lafayette, youngest of the three siblings, who is trying to cope with the stresses that often overwhelm him. He's still haunted by the memories of finding his mother Milagro, or Miracle, dead from illness, and confused by the evil actions of middle brother Charlie, recently released from a juvenile detention center. As a stabilizing, caring force, oldest brother Ty'ree works hard to hold the family together in the face of great personal sacrifice. Woodson's realistic situations and dialogue are given even more resonance via Hill's comfortable delivery. And her message of love and hope winning out shines through loud and clear when Hill rises to the emotional, but never sappy, conclusion. Ages 10-14.

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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