In the summer of 1955, fourteen-year-old Clement enters a general store in Money, Mississippi, to purchase a soda. Unaware of the consequences of flouting the rules governing black-white relations in the South, the Chicago native defies tradition by laying a dime on the counter and turns to depart. Miss Cuthbert, the store attendant, demands that he place the money in her hand, but he refuses, declaring "I ain't no slave!" and exits with a sense of entitlement unknown to black people at the time. His behavior results in his brutal murder. This event sparks a war in Money, forcing the black community to galvanize its strength in pursuit of equality.
While spending the summer of 1955 with relatives in Money, Miss., 14-year-old Chicago-raised Clement unleashes hell when he buys a root beer at the general store and refuses to place the nickel in the white female cashier's hand, leaving it instead on the counter. Though his sharecropping grandparents and aunt and uncle try desperately to protect him-his grandfather shoots and kills the men who come looking for the boy-Clement is abducted and his death is inevitable. Patriarch Jeremiah Johnson's pain and anger bring him to call a town meeting, and the town's blacks decide to stand up against generations of murders, lynchings, rapes and other violence. Unfortunately, Black (They Tell Me of a Home) stocks his novel with stereotypes-from the downtrodden blacks to the dumb, bigoted rednecks-who speak in phonetically rendered dialogue ("What we gon do?"). The clumsy, heavy dose of Christianity and rudimentary portrayal of racism will also limit appeal. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.