WALTER DEAN MYERS returns to the world of 145th Street: Short Stories to show how love can be found, and thrive, in the most unlikely places. Curtis finds love in Iraq as he struggles to stay alive in a war he doesn't want to fight, and Letha discovers her own beauty in the love of her child. There is the "good daughter" who realizes that there's only one way to help her brother and her family. Other stories center on the daily drama of the Curl-E-Que beauty shop, or capture the slapstick side of passion.
Coinciding with the reissue of 145th Street: Short Stories, Walter Dean Myers returns with What They Found: Love on 145th Street, a new collection of 15 intertwining short stories that take place in the same Harlem neighborhood. Here, a reluctant soldier unexpectedly finds love during a tour of duty and a wise matron holds court at the Curl-E-Que beauty shop. (145th Street: Delacorte, $15.99 160p ages 12-up ISBN 9780-385-32137-2; What They Found: Random/Lamb, $15.99 256p ages 14-up ISBN 9780-375-93709-5; Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Wendy Lamb Books
September 09, 2007
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Excerpt from What They Found by Walter Dean Myers
When Daddy first came up with the idea we just all sat there crying our eyes out. We said we would do it, but I don’t think anybody believed it at the time. He knew we were too upset even to talk about it, especially Mama. So the day I brought him tea and he asked me to sit down to talk about it, he got right to the point. “Abeni, you and me have always been tight,” Daddy said, sitting up on the propped pillows. “We’ve always had something special going on.” “I think so,” I said. “Look, the other day when I told your mama what I wanted, I tried to make it a little light because I knew she was going to be upset,” Daddy said. “It’s hard to talk about,” I said, feeling the tears welling up in my eyes. “I know, baby, and I know your mama wants to do the right thing.” Daddy’s hand was shaking slightly as he brought the cup slowly to his lips. He sipped the tea, took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. “How you feeling?” “I can hold things down a little better now that I’m finished with that chemotherapy,” he said. “You know, what I wanted to do was to go over the things I said the other day and maybe tell you why I said them.” “About Big Joe’s funeral?” “Yeah, well, that was something,” Daddy said. He smiled, but his face was drawn. “Big Joe giving himself a funeral while he was still alive gave me the idea. People still talk about that funeral and that little Puerto Rican gal singing. She’s in college now, ain’t she?” “Out in St. Louis, studying journalism,” I said. “When I came to the realization that this cancer had won the last round, I started thinking it over—you know, adding up the pluses and minuses—that kind of thing.” “Daddy, you’re going to get me crying again.” “Baby, I don’t care if you cry, but I know I can count on you more than I can on your mama and Noee,” Daddy said. “Your mama wants to see me off proper, and that’s good. We’re a churchgoing family and a homecoming ceremony is what everybody expects. But like I said before, I’m a black man who loves the three ladies he’s enjoyed his life with. Noee ain’t nothing but a child—lovely as she wants to be, she ain’t got your spunk, Abeni. I guess you being the firstborn I wasn’t sure what I was doing and halfway tried to make you into a boy.” “I’m all right as a girl, too, Daddy,” I said. “Well, can you see what I’m talking about?” he asked. “Can you see that this is a kind of gift I can give to my ladies?” I tried to say yes but the tears were on their way and I was putting my head on his chest. “I’ll get it done, Daddy,” I said. “I’ll get it done.” A year ago my family had big plans. Mama had been working for twelve years in LaRose Beauty Salon and now the owner was retiring and my parents had put the money together to buy the business. “And we’re changing the name to the Curl-E-Que!” Mama said. “And my girls will work alongside me.” We were all excited about opening up the shop, counting on Daddy’s job with the bus company to keep us going while we built it up. Then Daddy got ill and all the joy just drained from the family. We were close. Mama and Daddy had been married forever, and people on the blo