SAVING OUR SONS by Marita Golden


Raising Black Children in a Turbulent World
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 A cogently narrated personal exploration of the pain of raising black boys in a society that the author sees as fearing black men and indifferent to their survival. In the face of chilling statistics (the leading cause of death among American black males under 21 is homicide), novelist Golden (Creative Writing/George Mason Univ.; ed. Wild Women Don't Wear No Blues, 1993, etc.) examines her tumultuous experience raising her son, Michael. She begins motherhood in Nigeria, having moved there to be with her Nigerian-born husband, Femi, and his family. But as an educated woman and a feminist, she is unable to reconcile her love of Femi's caring, tribal community with its treatment of women. She also struggles with Femi's own unwillingness to see their marriage as an equal partnership, and after a year she leaves him. After returning to the United States, Golden grapples with the painful realization that, while as a woman her options are much better in the US than in Nigeria, her son's status is far more precarious in her native country. In that context, she explores her decisions to send him away from the violence of Washington, D.C., to a boarding school outside Philadelphia, and to encourage his relationship with his Nigerian father, first through letters and early-morning international phone calls, and eventually through a visit to Africa. Occasionally, Golden descends to easy polemics about race in America, which overwhelms the specificity of her own narrative and her personal experiences of grief and fear. But for the most part, she admirably navigates between the intimate and the sociological. Though her prose is not always engaging or original, Golden brings an articulate and much-needed perspective to the current feminist discourse on raising sons and to the issue of the ``endangered'' black male.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-47302-8
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


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