Somebody's Child

Dennis A. Williams, Author Simon & Schuster $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-82713-1
Two African American brothers wrestle with their roles as sons and fathers in Williams's (Crossover) uneven second novel. Quincy Crawford and Elliott Davis come of age in the mid-1970s: Quincy, a New York City high-school teacher and aspiring writer, wrestles with ambivalence over his lover's pregnancy and her subsequent abortion; Elliott pursues his dreams of professional basketball and tries to be a father to his girlfriend's child. The brothers have conflicting reactions to their stepfather, but both adore their half-sister Delphine, a Boston high schooler caught in the blistering racial tensions of busing. When Quincy's book is published, and Elliott faces a career-ending injury, the brothers must make important decisions about their futures, but when Delphine is attacked by several white boys from her school, the family puts aside its differences to ensure that justice is done. Williams mars his otherwise sensible denouement with an implausible, violent ending; worse, he assigns distractingly complex personal histories to minor characters, while the struggles confronting the principals--pregnancy, racial and domestic violence, absentee fathers--fail to rise above stereotypes. First serial to Essence. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
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