Book Review: Miracle’s Boys

Miracle’s Boys
author: Jacqueline Woodson
date: Puffin Books; 2000
main character: Lafayette Miguel Bailey

Miracle’s Boys is the story of three brothers seeking to find their own identity while struggling to be family. The boys’ parents are deceased and the oldest, Ty’ree, gives up dreams of college to work and keep the family together. Charles was in a juvenile home when his mom died and he is nursing anger and bitterness. Lafayette, the story’s narrator, sees a terrible change in his brother after he returned home and calls him “Newcharlie”. The boys must work through emotion filled memories of the past to begin living in the present.
Woodson creates strong, real characters whose pain is palpable. Her storytelling skills smoothly transport us back and forth in time, weaving a rich story in a very thin book. Milagro (Spanish for ‘miracle’) was the boy’s mother who taught them  many valuable lessons before she died.

Listen to this, Lafayette. Mama said.

I was flipping through the pages of a comic book. I was probably eight or nine, and it was dark outside. Too dark for me to be out but not for Ty’ree and Charlie. So I was sitting there being a little bit mad, sitting right near her but not really caring about what she had to say.

The function of freedom”, Mama read, “is to free someone else.

I shrugged and went back to my comic book.

You ever though about that, Laf? Mama asked me. That being free means you help somebody else get free?

I shook my head.

She put her book down.

Why not?

Cause I ain’t free.

Mama looked at me and frowned.

Well, I’m not, I said. If I was free, then I’d be able to go outside like Ty’ree and Charlie.

Then Mama laughed. But I didn’t see what was so funny about the truth.


Review copy from my school library.

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