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We Love You, Charlie Freeman
by Kaitlyn Greenidge


Overview - A FINALIST FOR THE 2016 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE AND THE 2017 YOUNG LIONS AWARD

"A terrifically auspicious debut." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Smart, timely and powerful . . . A rich examination of America's treatment of race, and the ways we attempt to discuss and confront it today." -- The Huffington Post


The Freeman family--Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie--have been invited to the Toneybee Institute to participate in a research experiment.
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More About We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge
 
 
 
Overview
A FINALIST FOR THE 2016 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE AND THE 2017 YOUNG LIONS AWARD

"A terrifically auspicious debut." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Smart, timely and powerful . . . A rich examination of America's treatment of race, and the ways we attempt to discuss and confront it today." --The Huffington Post


The Freeman family--Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie--have been invited to the Toneybee Institute to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family. But when Charlotte discovers the truth about the institute's history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past invade the present in devious ways.

The power of this shattering novel resides in Greenidge's undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history's long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America's failure to find a language to talk about race.

"A magnificently textured, vital, visceral feat of storytelling . . . by] a sharp, poignant, extraordinary new voice of American literature." --Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781616206444
  • ISBN-10: 1616206446
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.75 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > African American - General
Books > Fiction > Family Life
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: Signs of trouble ahead

Kaitlyn Greenidge makes an accomplished debut with the provocative novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman. Laurel and Charles Freeman and their daughters, Callie and Charlotte, are an African-American family with a remarkable command of sign language. None of the Freemans are deaf, but they picked up signing from Laurel, who learned to communicate with her hands during her childhood in Maine. In 1990, the Freemans are enlisted by the Toneybee Institute, a research facility in Massachusetts, to foster a chimpanzee named Charlie and teach him to communicate. Shifting back and forth in time, the novel is narrated by various characters, but Charlotte tells most of the story. A teenager who’s coming to grips with her sexuality, Charlotte discovers that the institute has an alarming history, and that its interest in her family isn’t quite what it seems. Greenidge’s timely exploration of race and precise observations of family dynamics will give book clubs rich topics for discussion. A visionary first novel, this marks the arrival of a major new talent.

WORKING-CLASS HEROES
In the wonderfully engaging Everybody’s Fool, Richard Russo continues the story of Donald “Sully” Sullivan and the residents of North Bath, New York. Ten years have passed since the events recounted in Nobody’s Fool (1993), and time has been kind to 70-year-old Sully, whose inheritance and gambling earnings allow him an easy lifestyle. But now he’s faced with the reality that he only has a couple of years left to live—a fact that he tries to hide from his old flame, Ruth, and his good pal, Rub. A lesser character from the previous book, Doug Raymer, North Bath’s chief of police, plays a major role this time around. Raymer gets wrapped up in a mystery involving the lover of his late wife, even as he and Sully grapple with the reappearance of bully Roy Purdy. Russo writes with humor and compassion about the working class, and he continues to be a wonderful stylist. His many fans will cheer the return of Sully and friends.

TOP PICK FOR BOOKCLUBS
Samantha Hunt’s eerie, acclaimed novel, Mr. Splitfoot, is the story of two teens brought up in a cult-like orphanage. At the Love of Christ! Foster Home, Ruth is drawn to Nat, who has the ability to communicate with the dead. With the help of the conniving Mr. Bell, Nat uses his otherworldly abilities to turn a profit. The novel moves into the future to take up the story of Ruth’s niece, Cora, who gets pregnant by mistake. When Ruth—now mute—enters Cora’s life, the two women set out on a life-changing quest on foot. Hunt deftly balances the unsettling story of Ruth and Nat with that of Cora and the journey, and the two compelling narrative strands illuminate one another. The result is a one-of-a-kind thriller—a mesmerizing blend of mystery and fairy tale that readers won’t soon forget.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews