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The Haygoods of Columbus: A Love Story Hardcover – April 27, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; First Edition edition (April 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395671701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395671702
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,480,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The bare facts suggest the author's family was a textbook case of African-American dysfunctionalism: his parents divorced in 1954 after three years and five children; two of his brothers were in trouble with the law; and two of his sisters had illegitimate children. But they emerge as flesh-and-blood individuals in Haygood's moving narrative, which chronicles his flight away from poverty in Columbus, Ohio, toward college and a career in journalism, even as it acknowledges unbreakable links to kin and the past. The unadorned prose seethes with emotion that is all the more powerful for being suppressed.

From Library Journal

Boston Globe reporter Haygood (King of Cats, LJ 3/1/93) lucidly constructs an insightful family memoir through three generations. His grandparents left Alabama in the 1940s for Columbus, Ohio, because "they just couldn't see opportunity in the South for their children." Later, they were joined by five of Haygood's grand-uncles. Offering both humorous and serious anecdotes as well as historical background and poignant personal reflections, Haygood recounts his life in the absence of a father and his quest to become an actor and then a writer. His work forms an important contribution to our understanding of the extended family life of African Americans. Fluidly and honestly written, this memoir is highly recommended for academic and public libraries, especially for students of African American studies.?Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Long Beach
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By burroughs@alpha.nsula.edu on September 29, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because of a jacket blurb by Reynolds Price, who calls it "a grave and beautiful surprise." Price is right. There are no spectacular events in Wil Haygood's story of growing up as a black kid in love with basketball in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950s and 1960s, but his accumulation of little ones -- living with his dependable grandparents Willie and Emily, going to movies, throwing rocks at a house once lived in by James Thurber (and that Haygood himself would later live in), moving out with his mother and sisters, meeting his half-brother Macaroni (whose end, after a career as pimp and petty thief, will surprise you), transferring from school to school to play basketball, being the first in his family to finish college, trying to make it in New York as an actor. For Haygood himself, this is a success story; he ends as an author. For his family, the success is less obvious, but it is there: they left Alabama in the 1930s and 1940s, got jobs in Ohio, invited brothers and sisters and cousins to live with them while they got on their feet. Not everyone makes it -- there are deaths and jail sentences -- but this is a cheerful book, a hymn to families and grandmothers and sisters who encourage, help, or send money. Best of all, Haygood is a fine writer, able to portray his scatterbrained mother sympathetically and to convey his gratitude to the people who helped him along the way (one is the father of singer Nancy Wilson).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James L. Breithaupt on December 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in a small town not far from Columbus, Ohio about the time Wil Haygood was growing up in the big city. The rural high school I attended was a consolidated school, meaning it served farming families who were geographically dispersed and too scattered to justify their own school. Still, even though my graduating class was large because of the demographics, we only had three African American students in the entire school. And yet just a few miles away Wil Haygood was living in an entirely different world, one that he recalls with clarity and grace in this fine book. I'm glad this book found me and that Wil Haygood was willing to share his story of a young man finding his way through the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful story about the love one young man has for his family
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfully written book. Wil Haygood is one of my favorite authors. His style of writing creates a beautiful picture in your mind of almost any topic. After reading The Butler, I was so intrigued by Wil's style of writing I've decided to read all of his books. This book was great!
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