When Marita Golden decided to write her personal account of the challenges of raising a black son in today's world, she didn't intend to write more than her own faily's story. But through the story of raising her son against the backdrop of a racially divided society, Golden discovered she was also confronted the causes of the violence that surrounds African-American men.
In the fierecely lryical and revealing narrative of Saving Our Sons, she has created a work of profound and lasting importance-one that sensitively and uniquely addresses the problems of boyhood and emerging manhood. It is a book that issues a clarion call: The survival of our cities, if not our society, depends on our finding a way to save our sons.
``As the mother of a black son, I have raised my child with a trembling hand that clutches and leads,'' declares novelist Golden (And Do Remember Me). Though her book title is overbroad and her narrative a bit jagged, she crafts a moving story, mainly of raising her son, Michael, whose middle-class status is no badge of protection from cops or peers. With family ties frayed by mobility, Golden has built a community with friends, but is estranged from her Nigerian ex-husband and wonders if Michael suffers without a father figure. In the course of her tale, Golden marries a man Michael likes, and eventually takes her son to a happy reunion with his father in Lagos, Nigeria. She mixes accounts of Michael's struggles in school and his shoplifting episode with meditations on D.C.'s mean streets and meeting the mothers of sons killed by drugs or convicted of murder. Racism must be dismantled, she knows, but she also argues that the ``first line of defense against racism'' is self-discipline. And, she adds, just as forgiving Michael's father was a vital act of motherhood for her, black men and women must practice forgiveness of each other in order to help save their community.