This Way Home
"...He wouldn't have admitted it, but the freshly painted houses
and well-tended lawns made him feel inexplicably happy. He loved the
big inviting porches with wicker furniture, and toys scattered
everywhere...And the trees, some of which were a hundred years old,
anchored by strong, invisible roots. It was like his neighborhood had
wrapped itself around its families, promising a lifetime of good
things, like backyard barbecues and graduation parties."
Elijah Thomas, protagonist of Wes Moore and Shawn Goodman's This
Way Home, is looking toward his own graduation and beyond. His
basketball skills make a scholarship to a top ten university highly
probable. He still wishes his father who vanished before he was even
old enough to form a memory of him would show up and take pride in
him. But his two job working mom goes all out to prepare him for a
better future. His two best friends, Dylan and Michael, have been
with him since they were really little.
Not all, though, is good in the hood. Walking home from a
street basketball game, Elijah comes upon a crime scene. A boy his
age, a straight A student and jazz band musician, has been shot. There
are rumors of gang involvement.
The last day of school Michael shows Elijah and Dylan the pairs
of $400 sneakers a sponsor has provided for their neighborhood
basketball team. The only information he'll give about the donor is
he has mad money and keeps a low profile. When the team uniforms
arrive they have ominous logos on them.
"...But then there was that patch and what it stood for--Blood Street
Nation. It was so small and discreet, which, he supposed, was the
genius of it. A tiny, little crimson icon that said so much, namely
that he and his friends were about to play ball for a gang..."
Elijah has his misgivings. They've stayed out of gangs all
their lives. But there is no adult with whom he can talk out his
dilemma with. "...Maybe the shoes and jerseys were gifts, with no
strings attached. And maybe if he said it enough times, he'd actually
This Way Home is a tightly suspenseful story with a protagonist
it would be nearly impossible not to root for. It's an excellent read
for high school boys who are turned off by books they consider
On a personal note, I'm now splitting my Sundays between singing alto
in two church choirs. Singing the anthems makes me feel like I'm more
fully connected to the source of all joy and beauty. Last Sunday we
had a hand bell choir accompanying us. It was so beautiful.
A great big shout out goes out to both my choirs and church families.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod