The Year It Snowed in April
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 30 2010, $14.99
In Harlem, his maternal grandparents raised Avery Benjamin Clarke in a protective middle class environs. Although shy by nature he was doing okay obtaining excellent grades at school and was a nice respectful child at home.
Now in 1983, thirteen years old, Avery is stunned when his mother Carla arrives at her parents' brownstone as she abandoned him years ago. She worries that her parents have ruined her son turning him gay with their over protectiveness. She has him visit her at her place where he is introduced to pot, cigarettes, and alcohol. He learns cursing is the most frequently used descriptors and modifiers. Avery takes his lessons with him as he soon gets into fights at school and in the neighborhood and shouts profanity at his caring shocked grandparents. However, his spiral downward has just begun as Carla has a mission to insure her son is straight.
The Year It Snowed in April is a fascinating character study that focuses on negative nurturing as an adult can lead a child down a path of destruction. The story line is driven by the cast especially Avery who goes from encouraged pampered child to abuse victim learning to abuse others. Although so much is dumped on Avery the pile is higher than Morningside Heights, readers will appreciate this tense tale of how a good young person is taught to be ugly.