Sunday You Learn to Box by Bill Wright
Louis, a 15 year old African American boy, lives in the projects with his mother, who is a department manager at the Saks 5th Avenue store in their Connecticut town. Louis’ mother has ambitious plans for them to have better lives, including moving out of the projects into a better place. Even after she marries her new husband Ben, she takes a second job cleaning offices at night, stops having her hair done and finds other ways to save money. Raised by his mother to believe he’s better than the other boys in the projects, Louis never plays with neighbor kids, who bully him often in return. At the same time, Louis idolizes Ray Anthony, an older boy in the neighborhood, who takes Louis under his wing and saves him from a beating.
The title comes from a plan Louis’ mother and stepfather cook up to help Louis get tough by learning to box with Ben every Sunday. As Louis deals with his own identity issues as well as family conflicts, he starts charting his own path and making independent decisions, including using his new boxing skills.
I liked this book more as I read it and got to know the character Louis better. As he begins to stand up for himself and not be cowed by adults or neighborhood bullies he gains a better image of himself.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson