October This month's new paperback releases include several excellent titles in fiction and nonfiction. We recommend the following selections as good choices for reading groups. Honky By Dalton Conley This wise, timely memoir is an account of the author's childhood in a predominantly black and Puerto Rican neighborhood in Manhattan. Conley, whose bohemian parents traded their well-heeled lives for an artsy inner city existence, was one of the few white boys in the projects, a place ruled by race and class where violence was close at hand a world where whites, for once, were the minority.
Dalton Conley Chapter One: I can envision the two long braids on either side of her head flapping maniacally, as if they were wings trying to lift her and the cart off the ground. She was, in fact, pregnant.
She had explained to me what this meant a week earlier, Honky by dalton conley I had become fixated on it, asking each day how much longer it would be. My parents tolerated this first of my many obsessions, happy that at least I was not resentful and jealous, though they wondered why I so much wanted the baby to be a girl and not another something like myself.
The next morning I continued my questioning: My parents did their best to engage my curiosity, each in their own way. While my father, Steve, used colored pens to handicap the Racing Form, he gave me some markers and told me to draw a picture of the baby.
I rushed through this endeavor using only the black marker and produced something that looked like his sweat-smeared copy of the Form after a long day at the racetrack. Steve, a painter, had just gotten into a black-and-white phase himself and was touched by my colorless effort; he pinned it up on the wall above the dining room table, where it hung for years.
In contrast to my father, with his visual orientation, my mother, a writer, took a verbal approach. She instructed me to think of an adjective for each letter of the alphabet to describe how I would like my younger sibling to be.
We only got through "a-door-bell," my word for adorable, and then to brown before I got exasperated and insisted that she tell me what the baby would be like--as if she knew and was holding out on me.
Finally, I could stand the wait no longer. About a week after the supermarket incident, I swiped a baby myself.
In it was a toddler just a few months younger than me, with cornrows braided so tightly on her little head that they pulled the skin on her face tautly upward. I remember that she was smiling up at me, and I must have taken this as permission.
I reached up to grab the handles of the carriage, pushed it across the shards of broken green and brown malt liquor bottles that littered the concrete, and proudly delivered it to my mother, who was sitting on a bench with a neighbor.
She turned to her neighbor on the splintered green bench. By now the baby was crying, and I was jumping up and down with excitement, laughing with delight at my success.
But my laughter soon dissolved into tears, for my mother immediately seized the plastic handles of the stroller and returned it from where it came. She made a beeline across the concrete, over the black rubber tiles of the kiddie area and under the jungle gym, all the way to the other side of the playground, where a woman was pacing frantically back and forth, her Muslim head scarf flowing out behind her like a proud national flag.
When my mother finally reached the woman she apologized repeatedlyexplaining that she could certainly empathize with the experience, since I escaped from her sight several times a week.
"I love "Honky" -- Dalton Conley is a very clever fellow to have strip-mined material so close to home and come up with pure gold. Told within the narrative framework of a white boy's friendships in the minority projects where his liberal, artistic parents raised their family in conditions thatcame to resemble a fortress, this ruefully comic. Honky Dalton Conley Chapter One: Black Babies As my mother tells it, the week before I kidnapped the black baby I broke free from her in the supermarket, ran to the back of the last aisle, and grabbed the manager's microphone. Dalton Conley Booklist Dalton Conley Message Board Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Honky "Dalton Conley's Honky, a vivid and richly insightful memoir about growing up white in the predominantly black and Latino projects of New York's Lower East Side.
The woman said nothing, her silent glare through narrowed eyes a powerful statement in itself, while the baby and I went on screaming and crying a cacophonous chorus. After the kidnapping, the separatist mother did not speak to us for a month, as if we had confirmed her worst suspicions about white people.
Then, just as the springtime buds were starting to blossom, she talked to my mother in the elevator. Eliot were code for something.
Whenever my mother would tell this part of the story, her voice would soften and trail off. Only later did I figure out that she remembered it so vividly out of a sense of liberal, racial guilt--guilt over her surprise at hearing a black separatist recite English poetry. She thought maybe it was Ezra Pound, the Nazi sympathizer, and that the woman was making a veiled expression of anti-Semitism.
Then she quoted the poem back to the woman: But later that night, well after midnight, the woman, her husband, and my ersatz baby sister were dragging, wheeling, and pushing all of their belongings across the hallway to the elevator in a caravan of suitcases, each one overstuffed and bulging, as pregnant with mystery as my mother was with my imminent sibling.
The woman was screaming at her husband to hurry up, so loudly that she woke up several families. Parents poked their heads out of steel doorways, blinking as they peered into the fluorescent hallway. Finally my mother asked the woman to keep it down, since we were trying to sleep.
I imagine that she asked sheepishly, cowed by her chronic white guilt. Her eyes were as wide with adrenaline as they had been narrowed with seething rage the month before. An open door in that neighborhood was something strange and unusual.
It usually meant something was seriously amiss--that a woman was fleeing an abusive husband, that a robbery or even a murder had taken place.
For me, the open door came to have the same association with death that a hat on a bed does for many people.
Insomniac that she was, my mother stayed up and waited eagerly for the sound of the newspaper dropping outside our door.
She savored her morning ritual, in which she brewed dark-roast Bustello-brand Puerto Rican coffee to accompany the Daily News. That morning my mother read in the paper that the separatist group had taken credit for a bomb planted at the Statue of Liberty the day before.
The bomb had been defused, but it still caused a panic among the tourists.Dalton Conley's book Honky brought us into the experiences of a white minority growing up in the inner city. We heard Dalton describe subtle (and not so subtle) differences in how ethnic groups were treated and perceived by friends, family, school, and society.
Sep 11, · My overall rating for Dalton Conley’s novel Honky is a 3 out of 5 stars. Dalton is a white kid growing up in the projects of Manhattan. He lives in a neighborhood where a large majority of the people are African- American or Puerto Rican.
Dalton’s family is middle class, living in a /5. Honky Dalton Conley Chapter One: Black Babies As my mother tells it, the week before I kidnapped the black baby I broke free from her in the supermarket, ran to the back of the last aisle, and grabbed the manager's microphone.
Nov 06, · The almostyear-old white boy Dalton Conley whose mother Ellen is a writer and pregnant at that time and whose father Stephen (Steve) is a painter, makes two important experiences concerning babies.
While Dalton Conley’s "Honky" may be a good primer for many privileged kids, it does nothing to expand on the social conditions of those living in poverty/5.
Honky [Dalton Conley] on regardbouddhiste.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. As recalled in Honky, Dalton Conley’s childhood has all of the classic elements of growing up in America. But the fact that he was one of the few white boys in a mostly black and Puerto Rican neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side makes Dalton’s /5(62).