This is a book about growing up and coming of age in the inner city, an unpredictable adventure filled with risk, spontaneous invention, bizarre hilarities, moments of grace, and all those magnified intensities of perception that seem to leave us as we enter the adult world. These six stories and the longer excerpt from a novel in progress are fueled by the resilience and creative energy of children approaching adulthood, getting in trouble and finding a way out, making choices, discovering who they are and where their lives might lead them.
A young nun's left hook decks the class bully and converts him into a teacher's pet. Escaping from a street gang initiation, a schoolboy hops a slow freight, nearly chokes to death in a smoke filled tunnel, and emerges into a world he never knew existed. A pre-teen hears his ankle crack while wrestling with the sexy older sister of a friend. In the novel excerpt, Rick Salerno, whom the Jesuits think should become a priest, has been busking for dimes in a subway station with his friend Clifford James. His mother and the Church do not approve, but when the boys meet "Boots" Grebofsky, a tomboy drummer, they form a band called Small Change. Friendship and loving what they do develop their musical skills to the point where they can work through a bewildering maze of obstacles, challenges and minor disasters to the sweet lift of success as they play their first paid gig before a tough audience.