Customer Review

Reviewed in Canada on July 13, 2004
Lafayette never got a chance to meet his father; his dad died before Lafayette was even born. Though he misses having a dad to do boy stuff with, Lafayette didn't know the man enough to miss him personally. When his mother dies, though, Lafayette is crushed. He misses her terribly --- every day, with every thought.
Lafayette's oldest brother Ty'ree misses their mother just as much. With both parents gone, Ty'ree is now responsible raising Laf and also looking out for middle brother Charlie who has just returned from doing time in a juvenile detention center. In addition to being full of sorrow, Ty'ree is bitter: If he didn't have to look after his younger brothers, Ty'ree would have been able to attend college. Now, he works like a dog in the mailroom for a big company and is tired all the time from trying to make ends meet. Laf tries not to ask too many questions, or cry too much, or to want things they can't afford. On top of it all, Charlie just keeps acting out and getting in trouble. If he caught by the police again, Charlie and Laf will be made wards of the court.
Author Woodson has a wonderful talent for writing about kids in tough situations. You really understand how someone in Laf's position might feel. This is a touching novel about a family trying to stay afloat through some really hard times. Their mother, whose name was Milagro, (Miracle in Spanish) was the center of the family and held them together. Now they must rely on each other while learning to deal with the death of their mother. They already got their one miracle --- can they stick together without one?
This is a quiet novel that you can read quickly. All the action takes place in one day, but it never feels hurried or too busy. If you are looking for a book that makes violence, gang life, and fighting brothers seem dramatic or glamorous, this is not the book for you. But if you want to read a realistic story about how these elements of urban life affect a small, loving family, try reading MIRACLE'S BOYS. Laf has tremendous reserves of kindness and love, and the bravery to show his emotions when he feels them. This whole novel is sometimes very sad, but it ends on a hopeful note. And as is usual with this author's work, it's also very beautiful.
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