An autobiography that captures the pain, anger, and fierce determination of a black journalist writing today for the Washington Post. McCall's open and honest description of his life as a boy in a black neighborhood in Portsmouth, VA, his participation in violent criminal acts, and his eventual imprisonment for armed robbery seem somehow to be an expression of the rage of so many young people in America's urban areas. While imprisoned, he worked as inmate librarian and was so moved by Richard Wright's books that he became fascinated by the power of words and decided to become a writer. Though he's made a successful career against great odds, he makes it plain that he doesn't feel completely at ease with his peers in the establishment or those on the streets. His difficult story is told in such an immediate and compelling fashion that young people will be caught up in this strong narrative and gain real insight into McCall's growth and change and, thus, contemporary urban issues.
Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, Manassas, VA
I read this as part of a college course many years ago, and I remember being surprised by how much I enjoyed it.