Everybody's Son
by Umrigar, Thrity

A lawman struggles to come to terms with the moral fallout of crimes committed by his loved ones when he learns that he was wrongly taken from his biological mother and that his grieving foster father exploited their family's influence to retain custody. By the author of The Weight of Heaven. 35,000 first printing.

Ten-year-old Anton was trapped in a stifling apartment for a week. His junkie mother had locked the door to their home in the projects while she went out for what was supposed to be a quick trip, but instead she was drugged up for days. This dramatic event brings the serious, bright boy into the rarefied world of Judge David Coleman. The son of a U.S. senator, Coleman is looking to foster a child after losing his own son in a tragic accident. He sees potential in Anton, and, when he has an opportunity to permanently improve the boy's circumstances, he takes it. What follows is a potent examination of race and privilege from the author of The Story Hour (2014) and The Space between Us (2006). Under the loving care of the Colemans, Anton excels, eventually getting into politics himself. But he remains dogged by questions about his identity, which threaten to topple his career right before a key election. Everybody's Son is uncompromising in its portrayal of what power reveals about those who wield it. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A neglected 9-year-old biracial child adopted by a powerful white family grows up to fulfill his potential only to confront a secret which will recast his entire sense of self.The question haunting Umrigar's (The Story Hour, 2014, etc.) seventh novel is: when? When will the chickens come home to roost? After Anton Vesper's new father, Judge David Coleman, manipulates both the child and his crack-addict mother, Juanita, in order to cement Anton's adoption? David and his trusting wife, Delores, lost their only son, James, in a car crash, and while Anton will never replace James, David thinks fostering the boy will help Delores heal. Soon the judge is convinced that all parties (except Juanita) will be better off with Anton living with the Colemans permanently. The son of a senator and tapped for the governorship himself, David has powerful friends who help ensure a lengthy prison term for Juanita, and when her release is imminent, David persuades her, with lies, to relinquish c ustody of her son. Years pass. Anton-also lied to-thrives, studies at Harvard, and is elected attorney general, but the reckoning is unavoidable. Umrigar's conscientious, one-track story doesn't offer much in the way of nuance. Characters are simple, plot developments easy to predict, and the racial lessons heavily underscored. David abuses his power; Juanita, poor, black, and unsophisticated, is "railroaded by a bunch of powerful white men"; and Anton had "three parents in his life [who] had each betrayed him." While the author delivers her morally explicit story in an efficient, readable fashion, the inevitability of its outcome renders it earthbound. This tale of identity and privilege never shakes off its sense of running a mechanical course. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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