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WORDSWORTH AT ALA!
At the yearly gathering of booklovers held in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center June 22 – 27, Wordsworth the Better World Bookmobile is...
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Kevin Sweeney was three years old when his father died, and only vaguely aware of his family's circumstances. His mother, thirty-four and nearly penniless, would not speak of the loss to her six children, and they, mindful of her fragility, hid their grief. But five years later, Sweeney quietly selected three men from his community to be his role models. Seized by the notion that he would be a father one day, he carefully planned his education.
None of Sweeney's father figures knew of their surrogacy, even though Sweeney was often on the periphery of their lives. He basked in the attention they occasionally lavished on him at parties or basketball games. Haunted by his own anger, guilt, jealousy, and sadness, Sweeney found relief and inspiration in the men, and in the tight-knit suburb where his family lived. He enjoyed long days of exhilarating normalcy -- learning to hit curveballs, roving on Sting-Ray bikes, and concocting explosives with neighborhood compatriots.
Kevin Sweeney's memoir recalls a childhood of private longing in a community of almost otherworldly simplicity, a place where every neighborhood girl received a curbside ovation on her way to the prom. It is the story of a boy and the three men he wanted to be like when he grew up, men who would pull him, a son at last, to the safety of young adulthood. And it is a story of resiliency, with lessons for all of us about the needs of children, the gift of community, and the nature of fatherhood.
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