February 6, 2010 7:07:00 PM
Columbus native Andrew Colom will review the book "Man Gone Down," by Michael Thomas, for the Friends of the Library Book Talk Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. The program at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library at 314 Seventh St. N. is free and open to the public.
Although the book is a novel, the author weaves into the story the plight of an African-American from Boston, Mass., in search of the American dream.
Thomas tells the story in the first person, with a main character who remains unnamed throughout the book. He is a man of many talents -- a gifted poet, a musician, college English instructor, a man assured he would transcend the problems of his alcoholic parents. He also worked construction and played guitar in clubs, while conquering alcoholism and starting a family in Brooklyn with his Caucasian wife.
He was a precocious child, and even though his childhood was marked by parental neglect and alcoholism, he was a natural writer. During his college years at Harvard, a prominent black intellectual takes him under his wing. However, problems with alcohol and drugs cause him to drop out of college.
By the age of 35, he and his wife are both unemployed and estranged. He has four days to scrape up enough money to rent an apartment in New York and to cover the tuition at a private school for his sons. He is on the verge of giving up on his marriage and abandoning his sons.
The narrator begins to evaluate his inner-city Boston childhood, interracial marriage, and the disparity between the promise of his intellectual potential and his real-world achievements.
Everyone attending the talk is invited to remain afterward to meet and talk with Colom. Light refreshments will be served.
The Friends Book Talks are on the second Wednesday of the month, from September through May.