Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I was surprised by Rite of Passage because it reads like a young adult novel; I would like, in fact, to teach it to my eighth graders in the spring some time. I expected more from Wright than this improbable romp, but at the same time I was pleased to find a book I might be able to use with my kids one day.
Johnny finds out that the City is moving him from his foster home. Problem is, he has been there since infancy and never even knew he was an orphan. Immediately his world turns topsy-turvy and he finds himself in a tough urban gang.
This is not on the same literary level as Wright's other novels by any means, but there is enough depth to make for interesting discussion with middle-schoolers. Read Native Son or Black Boy instead, or the stories in Eight Men.