Like his brother before him, Stringer was surrendered to foster care, shortly after birth, by his unwed and underemployed mother--a common practice for unmarried women in mid-century America. Less common was that she returned six years later to reclaim her children. Rather than leading to a happy ending, though, this is where Stringer's story begins. The clash of being poor and black in an affluent, largely white New York suburb begins to foment pain and rage which erupts, more often than not, when he is at school. One violent episode results in his expulsion from the sixth grade and his subsequent three-year stint at Hawthorne, the "sleepaway school" of the title.
What follows is an intensely personal, American journey: a universal story of childhood where childhood universals are absent. We experience how a child fashions his life out of the materials given to him, however threadbare. This is a "boy-meets-world" story, the chronicle of one child's struggle simply to be.
About the Author
Lee Stringer grew up in the outport village of Little Hearts Ease, in Newfoundland's Trinity Bay, but has been living in the nearby town of Clarenville most of his adult life. Stringer is a welder who has worked on different large scale projects from the Alberta oil sands to Labrador Iron Ore sites, and like thousands of other Newfoundlanders, commuted by plane for multiple week shiftwork. The vast majority of this novel was written in the late evenings in the work camps of these giant construction sites.
Kurt Vonnegut was a master of contemporary American Literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America's attention in "The Siren's of Titan" in 1959 and established him as "a true artist" with "Cat's Cradle" in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene has declared, "one of the best living American writers."