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African American Literature Book #2

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Woodson, Jacqueline. Miracle’s boys. New York; G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2000. ISBN: 0-399-23113-7.

 

Miracle’s Boys is the sorrowful mourning three Puerto Rican Black boys go through after the death of their parents.  It is a story of Brother to Brother love, healing, and survival.

Lafayette tells his story in a realistic manner that makes us understand and feel how each one of them copes with their losses.  

Lafayette is in the 4th grade, Charlie is in juvenile, and Ty’ree just graduated from High School when Milagros suddenly dies of an insulin shock.  Their father had died before Lafayette was born.  He died of hypothermia after saving a woman stranger and her dog.  All of a sudden the three boys find themselves alone.  

Now, Ty’ree has a full time job and holds custody of his two brothers.  Charlie has served his two years in juvenile.  He is finally home, but he is a completely new person.   Lafayette calls him "Newcharlie" because he is full of hate and resentment at everything, but especially at him.  Charlie blames Lafayette for letting their mother die. 

Instead of finding refuge in his brothers, Charlie looks for support and love in other “bad brothers” (gangs).  This hurts Lafayette very deeply.  He misses his brother.  However, Charlie soon realizes he is looking for love in the wrong place.  With love and understanding Lafayette and Ty’ree show Charlie that the only thing that matters is their Borther to Brother Love.

The reader experiences all kinds of feelings throughout the story ranging from hatred, defeat, and resentment toward life and death to love, loyalty, and healing.  However, an emotion that is always present is the love and admiration the boys feel toward their mother.

In this story the author portrays real life characters with real life emotions and concerns.  Here we see how many poor Puerto Rican Blacks live and survive in New York City.  It focuses on the threat that gangs hold on today’s youth.   People in gangs take advantage of disoriented youngsters to give them a false sense of belonging.   Also, the author focuses on the dream that immigrants have about their homeland. Charlie idealized his mother’s homeland; therefore, he decided to rob the store for the money to go back to “paradise”.  Finally, the author elaborates on the different stereotypes that exist in relation to different cultures.  Chapter One is an excellent source that can be used to explain to Middle and High School students of any racial background how stereotypes are in reality misconceptions the public has about people in other cultures and that many times these stereotypes completely distort the true image of that culture.  Students may compare and elaborate on the stereotypes that are commonly projected about their specific culture.

Miracle Boys disserves an excellent rating for its true representation of the day to day experiences and emotions Ty’ree, Charlie, and Lafayette go through.

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