Marshall Field Finney was named after a department store and dropped like a hot potato when his mother suddenly packed up and left. Now Marshall lives with his hard-drinking father in a crackerbox house and rides a yellow bus through beautiful St. Louis County to his mostly white suburban school. Caught at a crossroads, Marshall is desperately searching for something to believe in. At stake is only the rest of his life.
In this extraordinary novel, David Haynes tells the heartrending story of Marshall's journey through a broken world, where his father's new girlfriend, a poem by Yeats and a white teacher with big plans for her favorite students all seem to have the power to change him. And as Marshall struggles to make sense of his life, the haunting letters begin to arrive from his runaway mother: "We are linked tighter than fine gold chains. Who knows when we'll next be together--"
A tale of the ties that bind and the ties that fall away, Right by My Side is a cry from the heart, and a masterful novel of love and awakening by one of America's most gifted young writers.
Winner of the ALA's 1994 Best Book for Young Adults Award as well as the Minnesota Voices Project Award, Right by My Side is the heartrending story of 15-year-old Marshall Field Finney. When his mother suddenly takes off to find herself, Marshall is left with his hard-drinking father. Every day, he makes the long journey to his affluent, mostly white suburban high school. Caught at a crossroads, he is searching desperately for something he can hold on to. At stake is the rest of his life.
Just as Marchall begins to find a few signs that give him hope for his futures, he receives a series of haunting letters from his mother, who reminds him that they are "linked tighter than fine gold chains." A heartwarming tale of the ties that bind--and the ones that fall away--Right by My Side is a masterful novel of love and awakening by one of America's most gifted young writers. -->
About David Haynes
David Haynes grew up in St. Louis, and now lives in St. Paul. He has taught middle school and worked as a teacher-in-residence for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He is the author of Heathens, Somebody Else's Mama, and Live at Five. He was selected by Granta magazine as one the best young American novelists in 1996.
"Enjoyable reading--witty insight--Haynes has created a likeable, heroic character." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"A charming debut--a funny and cynical coming-of-age novel." --Kirkus Reviews
"Marvelous--[Haynes] has created one of the most vivid and idiosyncratic first-person narrators I've run up against in recent years. You trust Marshall's voice, and you trust Haynes' gifts. He's a prose writer of the first order." --Hungry Mind Review