Miracle’s Boys

Woodson, Jacqueline

 

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York. 2000. 133 p.

 

Sorry to do two books in a row by the same author, but Woodson has cast her spell on me and I can’t get enough of her style and characters. Locomotion hooked me, what can I say.

 

Miracle’s Boys is similar in many ways to Locomotion, but the major difference is the age this book is targeted at. This is a Young Adult book, and it deals with more complex themes than Locomotion, although there is death for young people to cope with in this book, too. Our narrator is Lafayette, a twelve year old boy who lives with his older brothers Ty’ree and Charlie after tragedy has struck their family twice. Ty’ree works hard to support his brothers and has given up many of his own dreams to make sure his younger brothers have a decent life. Lafayette understands how much Ty’ree cares and tries to be a good younger brother, but Charlie has changed in the last few years. After getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, Charlie was sent away to a home for at-risk boys and comes home changed, as is reflected by Lafayette’s name for him upon his return: Newcharlie. Charlie loved animals and though he had some hot-headed tendencies, was a decent boy. But Newcharlie doesn’t care about anything or anyone, including his brothers. Newcharlie is not the older brother Lafayette loved.

 

The story goes through the changes all three brothers experience in the time after Newcharlie returns home. Their roles as St. Ty’ree, Newcharlie, and the little angel Lafayette all change by the end of the book. Woodson never sugarcoats the experience of three young boys trying to make it on their own in New York City without parents to guide them. She shows readers in this book that bad and good aren’t always as clear as we’d like them to be, and sometimes you have to fall down completely to rise back up.

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