Move over, Holden Caulfield, and meet Marshall Field Finney, in the 30th anniversary edition of Right by My Side, by a celebrated chronicler of Black middle class life in the American Midwest
A Penguin Classic
With wit and realism, David Haynes presents a different kind of Holden Caulfield in fifteen-year-old Marshall Field Finney, an ordinary, sullen teenager who discovers storytelling as a way to ease his adolescent anger and family tensions. Living with his parents in “Washington Park,'' a housing development outside St. Louis, Missouri in the 1980s, his high-strung mother walks out on him and his father, a flawed yet strong man who manages the local landfill. Marshall's two best friends, one Black and one white, are his only allies, as they navigate school and family life together. Through these relationships, Haynes poses Marshall's universal questions about his place in his community and what’s next in his life. Ultimately, Marshall’s story proves that people take care of each other, families take care of others, and a boy finds his own resilience to become a young man.
"[Haynes] belongs to the old realist tradition that believes that everyday life, if truly rendered, is more than exciting enough."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Haynes offers engaging characters who tackle fundamental issues such as love, family and benevolence," Publishers Weekly
About the Author
David Haynes is the author of seven novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is an emeritus professor of English at Southern Methodist University, where he directed the creative writing program for ten years. Since 1996 he has taught regularly in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Several of his short stories have been read and recorded for the National Public Radio series Selected Shorts. His seventh and most recent novel is A Star in the Face of the Sky. He currently serves as Board Chair of Kimbilio.
"In Right by My Side, David Haynes crafts a story that is both humorous and heartbreaking. It is a moving coming-of-age and a complex portrait of an entire community all at once. Marshall Field Finney is the kind of charismatic, world-wary young narrator whose voice leaps off the page and grabs hold of your heart. How thrilling for a new generation of readers to get to know him." —Angela Flournoy
"In Right by My Side David Haynes wrote a novel for the ages. The sentences and voice that make up Marshall, the book's young narrator, crackle with an energy that is both hilarious and timeless. Haynes's debut rivals our best and most important works of literature." —Rion Amilcar Scott, author of The World Doesn't Require You