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Cannonball Read IV: Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley

By ambern | Book Reviews | November 30, 2012 | Comments ()


This book was a freebie that my mom picked up at work. She insisted that I would enjoy it because it's one of those depressing but good books. I've never read anything by Walter Mosley before but I have seen a lot of his books around. I'm still not sure why I hadn't tried reading his work before, but this has made me eager to pick up more of his books.

Fortunate Son starts in 1986 when Thomas Beerman is born with a hole in his lung. His mother stays in the hospital as much as she can, with no help from the father of her child. Soon she meets Dr. Minas Nolan, a surgeon at the hospital whose wife recently died after giving birth to their son, Eric. The two form an unlikely relationship that lasts until her death when the boys are 6. Minas and Brwyn never married despite his many proposals, so after her funeral, Thomas is taken away from the Nolan's by his erstwhile father, Elton. Elton doesn't want Thomas to grow up with white people in Beverly Hills and for the short time that he has his son Elton tries to make Thomas in his image. Meanwhile, Eric misses his mother and brother but has a very charmed life. Everything he tries, he succeeds at. While Thomas has probably the worst luck that anyone could have.

The book alternates between Eric and Thomas's lives throughout the years. It is very hard to read through Thomas's sections--they are just so traumatic and wrong on every level. Eric has a great life but is concerned about the effect that he has on those around him. He is afraid that he unintentionally kills those that love him.

This is an excellent and engrossing story, I had a hard time putting it down. But if you don't want to read anything depressing you should stay far away from this novel.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it, and find more of ambern's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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  • Thea Lawton

    I'm almost jealous that you are just getting started with Mosley, though strangely enough "Fortunate Son" is the only book of his that I haven't read. The Easy Rawlins books are so great, that sometimes I've had a hard time warming to his other books at the start, because I just miss Easy and his LA milieu so much, but I have really enjoyed every detour he has taken. Most of his recent books have explored a new character, Leonid McGill, who I am starting to appreciate almost as much as Easy.

  • TK

    Mosley's actually responsible for one of my favorite movies (and a Pajiba Underappreciated Gem), Devil in a Blue Dress. He wrote the novel, as part of his series about detective Easy Rawlins.

    He's been branching out the last few years, writing sci-fi and more dramatic fare. He's an amazing author, but he's completely fallen off my radar of late. Thanks for the review, I'm definitely checking this out.

  • ambern

    That movie is amazing and it's honestly the reason that I knew who Mosley was, which is a little sad.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Easy's one of my top favorite characters and Mosley has a unique talent for making me feel like I've stepped into a book, his late 50s - early 60s Los Angeles via Texas is incredibly well done.

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