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Little Chicago opens in the office of Children’s Services, where eleven-year-old Blacky Brown is being interviewed by a social worker who is trying to determine what has happened to him. At first, Blacky’s emotions are blocked, but then he reveals that he has been sexually abused by his mother’s boyfriend, and is released into his mother’s custody. Thus begins an alternately harrowing and hopeful story of a brave boy’s attempts to come to grips with a grim reality Mary Jane, a classmate who is similarly ostracized, tries to help Blackie, but he soon takes refuge instead in the gun that he buys easily from his sister’s boyfriend.
Little Chicago is an unblinking look at the world of a child who has been neglected and abused. It portrays head-on the indifference and hostility of classmates, teachers, and even Blacky’s mother, once these people learn his “secret.” Like Sura in The Buffalo Tree and Whensday in The Copper Elephant, Blacky is one of Adam Rapp’s mesmerizing voices, more so because it is a voice so rarely heard.
'“Gr. 10-12. Rapp’s latest novel opens as 11-year-old Blacky Brown runs from his mother’s boyfriend, who has sexually abused him. Blacky is examined at the hospital, then released to his impoverished, single mother, who leaves Blacky to face the ramification of the incident on his own. His drug-addled older sister and remote younger brother are no help, and when Blacky tells his only friend, he’s rejected, the whole school finds out, and vicious bullies harass him. He finds solidarity with the other school freak, a girl whose friendship sustains him. But as the disturbing open ending shows, that’s not enough to shield him from his own self-loathing and the cruelty and neglect of others. Rapp creates a powerful voice in Blacky, whose honest, raw account shows desperate struggles just to keep breathing and moving: ‘My legs are ok, I tell myself. My legs are good.’ ” —Booklist'
Publisher: Open Road Distribution