Play That Funky Music, White Boy

Imagedb_2If you've never read Jonathan Lethem's 2003 novel Fortress of Solitude,

it's not too late. The novel is about a white boy sent to school in a

rough part of Brooklyn in the 1970s at the insistence of his hippy

artist parents. "Second grade was first grade with math," observes the

little boy,

named Dylan. "Fifth grade was fourth grade with something wrong."

Not surprisingly, his parents' half-baked notions of integration

don't work out so well for their son. It's a book about race, and

growing up, the perils of friendship among boys, and -- especially --

about being bullied. (New York Times reviewer AO Scott describes the

bullying ritual as "a disconcerting amalgam of mugging, con artistry

and mock affection.") Great stuff for anyone who's been in this situation, or is in it now. Here's an excerpt: View From a Headlock.

"Hey, white boy. Let me take a look at that."

Cross-posted from TWIE.

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