- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Usually ships in 5 to 7 business days
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
More copies of this ISBN
Sleepaway School: Stories from a Boy's Lifeby Lee Stringer
Synopses & Reviews
There are family-like bonds that can form within the larger human family, when one's own family life has been broken into fragments. Such is the case throughout Sleepaway School, Lee Stringer's recounting of his years at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls — a school for kids at risk — and the events that led up to them.
The clash of being poor and black in an affluent, largely white New York suburb begins to foment pain and rage which erupts, more often than not, when he is at school. One violent episode results in his expulsion from the sixth grade and his subsequent three-year stint at Hawthorne, the "sleepaway school" of the title. What follows is an intensely personal American journey: a universal story of childhood where childhood universals are missing. Excluded at first by his peers, Stringer develops an outsider's eye, enabling him to see some things more deeply from without than from within. Such insight, however, is not enough to assuage the anguish he feels over his isolation. And when this spills out Stringer finds himself in yet another, darker institution.
In Sleepaway School, we experience how a child fashions his life out of the materials given to him, however threadbare. This is a boy-meets-world story, the chronicle of one child's struggle simply to be.
"In his second memoir, Stringer (Grand Central Winter) retraces a troubled 1960s New York City childhood, one full of hope and promise that deteriorated into years of emotional pain. Born out of wedlock, Stringer and his brother lived with their financially struggling mother until bills overcame her, compelling her to turn them over to foster care. Stringer describes how, as a youngster, he fought other kids, kicked over desks and bad-mouthed instructors, never questioning his school counselors when they said he was full of anger. He questioned the difference between his black world and that of the white, 'normal' one, where hate and intolerance seemed usual. Stringer was committed for two years to a school for at-risk children, where his Stringer's reputation for having a wicked temper followed him. Springer's lean prose renders his mother as a resourceful, determined woman who buys her rageful son a punching bag to vent his anger. Only through poetry and art did Springer find outlets for self-expression and a fresh start for the reminder of his youth (until his adult crash with drug addiction). Springer deftly tells a believable, candid and vivid tale of a person scarred by his past. (June 3) Forecast: Springer will tour America by train, making more than 25 stops in cities and towns. Fans of 1998's critically acclaimed Grand Central Winter will want this new book, and the tour could draw in new readers, too." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Sleepaway School tells the story of how Lee Stringer reclaimed the mystery and promise of childhood out of the grip of adversity. After crises of family and identity come to a head put up for adoption at birth, sent away to a school for troubled children at age eleven Lee Stringer describes the turbulence of his first sixteen years, recollected here with startling balance, grace, and humor.
The author of Grand Central Winter: Stories From the Street returns with the prequel to his first memoir.
A boy-meets-world story from the author of Grand Central Winter, the acclaimed memoir of life on the streets of 1980s New York.
LEE STRINGER's journey from childhood homelessness in the ’60s, to adult homelessness in the ’80s, to his present career as a writer and lecturer, as told in Sleepaway School and Grand Central Winter, is one of the great odysseys of contemporary American life and letters. Stringer, the only board member of Project Renewal who is also a former patient of the facility, has demonstrated that writers are made, not born. He is the two-time recipient of the Washington Irving Award and, in 2005, a Lannan Foundation Residency. He is a former editor and columnist of Street News. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of other publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Newsday. He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, where he also serves on the board of the Mamaroneck Public Libraries.
Like his brother before him, Stringer was surrendered to foster care, shortly after birth, by his unwed and underemployed mother—a common practice for unmarried women in mid-century America. Less common was that she returned six years later to reclaim her children. Rather than leading to a happy ending, though, this is where Stringer's story begins. The clash of being poor and black in an affluent, largely white New York suburb begins to foment pain and rage which erupts, more often than not, when he is at school. One violent episode results in his expulsion from the sixth grade and his subsequent three-year stint at Hawthorne, the "sleepaway school" of the title.
What follows is an intensely personal, American journey: a universal story of childhood where childhood universals are absent. We experience how a child fashions his life out of the materials given to him, however threadbare. This is a "boy-meets-world" story, the chronicle of one childs struggle simply to be.
About the Author
Lee Stringer is the author of the acclaimed Grand Central Winter: Stories From the Street (Seven Stories Press, 1998), which chronicled his twelve years of crack addiction and homelessness on the streets of New York City. It has been translated into eighteen languages, and prompted Stringer's appearance on Oprah and many other national television shows, newspapers and magazines.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like