"Two weeks after my brother Mitchell was killed, my mother finally emerged from her bedroom, hair uncombed, eyes puffy and wide. She said nothing to us, who watched her cross the floor to the bathroom, where she emptied the medicine cabinet. She stepped into the living room holding a waste can full of medicine bottles and announced that she had become a Christian Scientist. . . . I didn't know what Christian Science was, but I could see it had enabled my mother to walk from her bedroom and speak to us, and I was grateful for that."
In early 1960s South Carolina, Jeru Lamb is ten years old and trying to come to terms with his brother's death. He's also trying to understand his mother's conversion to Christian Science, his father's literary ambitions (and recent calling as "a Waffle House mystic"), the racial landscape of the segregated South, and a new classmate from the wrong side of town who claims to be his half-sister. "It was not lost on me that by expecting the worst every breathing moment, I backed into prophecy once in a while," says Jeru, and when his mother finds herself "in the family way"--against her doctor's orders--Jeru is left to wonder just what he might lose next.
Tommy Hays's first novel, Sam's Crossing, won accolades from critics nationwide. The New York Times Book Review called it "touching and funny--and revealing of the intricate workings of the human heart." The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "witty and engaging . . . [a novel that] explores the risks and rewards--vulnerability, compromise, intimacy and strength--of love." In the Family Way shows the maturation of this talented writer as he depicts, with heartbreaking simplicity, the end of things we love and the extraordinary capacity to begin again. And in Jeru Lamb he has created an engaging young narrator who takes us to the center of his world and its generous secrets.
From the Hardcover edition.