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Sleepaway School: Stories from a Boy's Life: A Memoir

Sleepaway School: Stories from a Boy's Life: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Lee Stringer , Kurt Vonnegut

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Product Description

Product Description

Like his brother before him, Stringer was surrendered to foster care, shortly after birth, by his unwed and underemployed mother—a common practice for unmarried women in mid-century America. Less common was that she returned six years later to reclaim her children. Rather than leading to a happy ending, though, this is where Stringer's story begins. The clash of being poor and black in an affluent, largely white New York suburb begins to foment pain and rage which erupts, more often than not, when he is at school. One violent episode results in his expulsion from the sixth grade and his subsequent three-year stint at Hawthorne, the "sleepaway school" of the title.
What follows is an intensely personal, American journey: a universal story of childhood where childhood universals are absent. We experience how a child fashions his life out of the materials given to him, however threadbare. This is a "boy-meets-world" story, the chronicle of one child’s struggle simply to be.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1384 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (1 Jan 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0024NJZZW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,319,189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, poignant read 16 April 2005
By ScarletM - Published on
I have just finished reading this precious book. I didn't want it to end. Mixed with sadness and unending joy, this book is beautifully written by Mr Stringer and tells the story of his transformation from angry kid to talented, and self confident man. Caverly's character is a delight, by the end of the book you cannot but love this inventive child. I highly recommend this book - it should be a set work for tenth graders across America.

What really hurt me was to hear that Stringer's other book is about his life on the streets as a homeless, crack addict. The feeling at the end of Sleepaway School was that Caverly was bound for greatness - what happened to send him on his downward spiral. I will definitely be looking out for this book in the hope that it answers my question.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing up is hard to do 23 Jun 2004
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on
SLEEPAWAY SCHOOL is a touching memoir of the formidable years of Caverly Stringer. The reader is taken on an amazing journey as this young boy becomes a young man in a world where color matters and living in poverty is part of one's existence.
Caverly's mother, who is unable to take care of a new son, puts both her children into foster care, only to return for them six years later. By this time, Caverly and his brother Wayne, have been in the foster care system long enough for the harshness to have a profound affect on the two young boys. In hopes of the family having a better life, their mother moves them into a mostly white suburb. Caverly becomes a young boy who is brimming with anger, loneliness and the inability to fit in. With fits of anger often displayed inappropriately, Caverly loses his temper after a school assembly where a classroom of performers is in black face. After his angry outburst, he is sent to Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School, a sleep away school for young boys in crisis.
The author, Lee Stringer, entertains us with stories of how he learns to live away from home in a foreign environment with structure and where he realizes how very different he is from everyone. While in this new environment, he learns much about himself and how cruel the world can be when you are black. He spends much of his time trying to belong, but the other young boys constantly pick on him. One particular incident has Caverly placed in a mental ward for observation after he threw a brick at another student. He proclaims, "I just want to be left alone." From that one statement, the reader understands precisely what he means. He wants to be able to live his life without others treating him differently. After an incident involving the use of a racial epitaph, the reader realizes Caverly is slowly starting to grow and mature because he does not react in his usual violent manner.
Although at times the story was sad, there were bursts of happiness that the reader reveled in because it becomes obvious that Caverly deserved to be able to smile and enjoy a moment of happiness. This memoir is a testament into how much young black men must overcome. The story being told by Caverly moved at a very comfortable pace and the writing style was different but very poignant. With memorable characters, this novel will make you smile at times, as well feel saddened by this young boy's plight. I enjoyed this novel for its lyrical writing style and message of hope. This is one novel that should be read by all young boys.
Reviewed by Cashana Seals
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great writing - fun story 11 Sep 2004
By chuck-in-az - Published on
I heard an interview with this witty and intelligent author on public radio. The book is as charming as was the author's radio interview.

...very nicely written and interesting 'coming of age' story form a different perspective. Quick reading and a positive, uplifting true story.

Probably would be good for adolescents.
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange book 7 Oct 2013
By Mykidsjamice - Published on
Verified Purchase
This book was different.. overly it's okay. I dont' believe I would suggest it for anyone to read. readers disgestion advised.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Emotions 10 Aug 2006
By Beth Chalfin - Published on
I first picked up Lee Stringer's Grand Central Winter about four years ago. I have never fallen so in love with a writer's style in only a few pages. It took me a few years to find his next book, and I just completed it about two minutes ago. While i continue to love his style of writing, i was somewhat let down by his second book. I suppose I was expecting this memoir to cover more years of his adolescence, and not so much just him at age 12 and 13. I was very much so interested in what lead him to a life on the streets of New York. However, to read about how he had lived a somewhat average life, with structure and support was an eye-opener for other people on the streets of New York.
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