Blow’s mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot thanks to “love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel.” Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his “do-right,” not “good-time” mother. Until one day — a day that forever divided his life into Before and After — when an older cousin took advantage of the very young boy. Charles’s escape from that world — first to a nearby state university, where he joined a black fraternity despite brutal hazing, then experienced a social and sexual privilege that seemed at first like everything he ever needed — is a searing, redemptive story that will work its way into the deepest chambers of your heart.
Charles M. Blow has been a columnist at the New York Times since 2008 and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and HBO. He lives in Brooklyn with his three children. (jasbro)