Everywhere You Don't Belong

Everywhere You Don't Belong

In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isnt dangerous or brillianthes an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth: childhood friendships, basketball tryouts, first love, first...

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Title:Everywhere You Don't Belong
Author:Gabriel Bump
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Everywhere You Don't Belong Reviews

  • Angela M

    I loved Claude McKay Love, the main character in this coming of age story of a young black man, growing up on the South side of Chicago. Claude, abandoned at 5 by his parents is raised by an unconventional, activist grandmother who loves him. Hes heartbroken and so was I. Claude cries a lot over being left by his parents, over the death of black teenager, dead in the street, killed by a cop while the boy was entering a home to feed the cats for the people on vacation. Must be stealing they said.

    I loved Claude McKay Love, the main character in this coming of age story of a young black man, growing up on the South side of Chicago. Claude, abandoned at 5 by his parents is raised by an unconventional, activist grandmother who loves him. He’s heartbroken and so was I. Claude cries a lot over being left by his parents, over the death of black teenager, dead in the street, killed by a cop while the boy was entering a home to feed the cats for the people on vacation. Must be stealing they said. So relevant and reflective of the real life situations we see on the news with young black men and boys being killed or abused not because they are doing something wrong, but because of the racism that makes police believe they are doing something wrong. He cries over the riots that ensue and the gangs and more people killed. He cries when he leaves Chicago for college in Missouri and is working on a journalism project whose very assignment feels racist. Cries as he is looking back at Barack Obama’s election. He’s sad when everyone seems to be leaving him - his friends, Janice, the girl he loves . But Janet comes back bringing with her further times of fear and violence. In spite of all the tears and the violence, there are times when I couldn’t help but laugh. In spite of the tears and violence, there is so much love here. This is one of those books I didn’t want to end because I didn’t want to leave Claude, this determined, young man who keeps hopeful in spite of everything. A terrific debut by Gabriel Bump, who was born and raised on the South side of Chicago.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Algonquin Books through NetGalley.

  • Estee

    I am not sure whether to give this book 3.5 or 4 stars so I will round up for now.

    I dont really know how to describe this book except that it is different and wild and I liked it. It feels futuristic but its set in present day. It feels old and new at the same time.

    Claude, the main character, is both sensitive and brave, smart and not so smart. He is a smart teenager who makes some good choices and some bad choices.

    The first half of the book reads like short stories. And while the second half

    I am not sure whether to give this book 3.5 or 4 stars so I will round up for now.

    I don’t really know how to describe this book except that it is different and wild and I liked it. It feels futuristic but it’s set in present day. It feels old and new at the same time.

    Claude, the main character, is both sensitive and brave, smart and not so smart. He is a smart teenager who makes some good choices and some bad choices.

    The first half of the book reads like short stories. And while the second half of the book is unbelievable, Claude is believable and so you read and root for him.

    This was an interesting book that is very timely but with a very different tone. I think people will enjoy it.

    Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book

  • Mark

    Claude McKay Love is a black teenager growing up on the south side of Chicago. His parents abandoned him early on and he has been raised by his fiery, activist grandmother. Claude is an emotional kid and is disheartened by the things he sees around him- his friends being gunned down by gangs or the police, riots against injustices and the bleak future that face most of the kids in his neighborhood. He decides to flee the city and enrolls in college in Iowa, aiming to become a journalist. He soon

    Claude McKay Love is a black teenager growing up on the south side of Chicago. His parents abandoned him early on and he has been raised by his fiery, activist grandmother. Claude is an emotional kid and is disheartened by the things he sees around him- his friends being gunned down by gangs or the police, riots against injustices and the bleak future that face most of the kids in his neighborhood. He decides to flee the city and enrolls in college in Iowa, aiming to become a journalist. He soon finds out that there is no safe oasis for a young black man.

    This is an impressive debut. There is a gritty edge to his writing style, but also an equally dark wit. And Claude was a terrific character to spend a couple of a hundred pages with.

  • Chris Blocker

    I worry readers are going to be expecting something from this book that is very different from what they receive, and this will only drag down the rating.

    is definitely a book very much about the issues of social justice and racism, but it is very much written in a clever, darkly comic manner. This is a novel for fans of David Foster Wallace and Adam Levin, particularly the latter. The same kind of quirky characters with endearing nicknames you'd find in

    I worry readers are going to be expecting something from this book that is very different from what they receive, and this will only drag down the rating.

    is definitely a book very much about the issues of social justice and racism, but it is very much written in a clever, darkly comic manner. This is a novel for fans of David Foster Wallace and Adam Levin, particularly the latter. The same kind of quirky characters with endearing nicknames you'd find in

    are here. The build up to a battle to end all battles (

    's tennis war or

    Armageddon) is also here, but the payoff isn't quite as epic as either of those provided. Although I have a love-hate relationship with

    , I thoroughly enjoyed

    and I do think

    is an excellent companion piece.

    Given the length of

    (a fourth of the aforementioned tomes) and the popularity of the subject matter, I do think this book will fall into the hands of many readers who are unfamiliar with postmodernism. They may be looking for an entirely believable story, and when what they get isn't realism, nor is it something they can equate with an established genre, I think they may be too quick to dismiss it.

    But look at me, spending all my time talking about what other readers are potentially going to do... Here's what I think of this novel:

    I enjoyed much of this book. The opening chapters where we're introduced to Claude's life and his friends is stellar. I wish I'd been able to spend more time with Nugget, Bubbly, and Jonah. The conversations that happened between Claude's grandmother and her friend Paul were so outlandishly entertaining. Many of these chapters felt more like short stories from the life of Claude, giving the reader an idea of different aspects of his life rather than a joined narrative. Eventually, the narrative becomes more cohesive. For me, the concluding chapters didn't carry the same heft as the first half of the book, but I was still pleased with them. There's just a sharpness to the wit and language of the first half that I think was missing in the end.

    comes out in February 2020. And if I haven't made it clear yet, I recommend this novel for fans of

    .

  • jo

    I was grateful to receive an ARC copy of this. Its such a good book! The first half is lyrical and fragmented in a beautiful, strong, and original way. It centers on a child living with his family in South Side Chicago (yes, thats Obama-land!) and is a mixture of Black coming-of-age and reflection on racial injustice. There is a riot, the repercussion of which will be felt throughout the book, and its a beautifully and heartrendingly described riot pain and injustice palpable and searing. The

    I was grateful to receive an ARC copy of this. It’s such a good book! The first half is lyrical and fragmented in a beautiful, strong, and original way. It centers on a child living with his family in South Side Chicago (yes, that’s Obama-land!) and is a mixture of Black coming-of-age and reflection on racial injustice. There is a riot, the repercussion of which will be felt throughout the book, and it’s a beautifully and heartrendingly described riot — pain and injustice palpable and searing. The child’s family is unorthodox and also solid and loving and quirky and funny.

    In the second half Claude, the protagonist, manages to get away and go to University, where the trauma of his insecure and violent childhood inevitably follows him. The adventures of Claude in Wisconsin are both funny and terrifying. The novel turns more traditional, a love story becomes part of it, and the rhythm accelerates. Maybe this part is not as magical and surprising as the first, but this is a debut novel and, heck, it is pretty damn good.

    I am a White immigrant to the United States and I will never understand the Black experience, but I will never stop trying, bc understanding others (and in the process, ourselves) is what we must do. This book did something to me. It is not exactly written *for* me, but what I got from it is a deeper understanding of the fragility of Black life in America, and also of the brilliance and joy of Black life in America. When it comes to American Black life there is something that’s very much akin to orientalism. We all want to be a little bit Black. I haven’t given much thought to why marginalized cultures are so profoundly appealing to those who belong in the mainstream, and to why this attraction can be simultaneously infused with the deepest, most heinous racism, but it’s definitely a thing. I think we should fight it. At the same time, though, we are given the amazing opportunity to enjoy art that is produced in the immensely fruitful place that is the margins, and I think we should consume it as much as possible. .

  • Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    Claude Mckay Love grew up in the South Side of Chicago. He was raised by his grandmother after his parents abandoned him at a young age. She is a great influence in his life and pushes him to continue his education while avoiding the drug and gang violence from their neighborhood.

    After a violent riot, Claude is haunted by the event and sets his sights on leaving Chicago. The home and city that he knew have been altered and he is tired of the injustices. He yearns for a place to fit in and

    Claude Mckay Love grew up in the South Side of Chicago. He was raised by his grandmother after his parents abandoned him at a young age. She is a great influence in his life and pushes him to continue his education while avoiding the drug and gang violence from their neighborhood.

    After a violent riot, Claude is haunted by the event and sets his sights on leaving Chicago. The home and city that he knew have been altered and he is tired of the injustices. He yearns for a place to fit in and eventually leaves for Missouri to attend college and study journalism. Unfortunately, Claude’s escape away from the streets of Chicago reemerge and he is forced to confront the same challenges from his youth.

    Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a debut novel by Gabriel Bump. This book is original and clever with a mix of grit and humor. This is an author to watch in the future.

  • Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?

    Claude is your typical high school kid, trying to figure out what he is going to do for the rest of his life. He lives on the South Side of Chicago, where life is not always the greatest. Surviving his parents leaving him, rioting and violence in his hometown. When he meets Janice, he think he may have found the one person to make the journey a little better, but Janice has plans of her own that may or may not include Claude. Together or apart, will Claude be able to make it through this

    Claude is your typical high school kid, trying to figure out what he is going to do for the rest of his life. He lives on the South Side of Chicago, where life is not always the greatest. Surviving his parents leaving him, rioting and violence in his hometown. When he meets Janice, he think he may have found the one person to make the journey a little better, but Janice has plans of her own that may or may not include Claude. Together or apart, will Claude be able to make it through this tumultuous life, or will he fall victim to his circumstances.

    Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.

    I can say that I was hooked on this book from the start. Claude seems like a shy guy who doesn't have too many friends. Not that he doesn't want friends, but he just likes to stick to himself. At first while reading the book, I was a little concerned about the writing style. But it fits for a boy of that age who is unsure of himself. This book was a quick read with a lot of dry humor.

    You don't hear as many reports about the violence in Chicago, but it is ever prevalent. Thankfully, I have never felt the fear of violence just from sitting on my porch, but Claude feels it and even though he tries to escape it, it seems to follow him.

    I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend for high school boys who are unsure of their future.

  • Nancy Oakes

    full post here:

    First, a huge thanks to Algonquin, who sent me an advanced reader copy. When I began reading this novel, I was sort of taken aback at the simplicity of it all and I was a bit on the iffy side, but the truth is that the further I got into it the more I realized that it's not simple at all -- it is intelligent and works at a level of complexity I hadn't anticipated.

    Just briefly, I suppose this book is what most people are calling it, a

    full post here:

    First, a huge thanks to Algonquin, who sent me an advanced reader copy. When I began reading this novel, I was sort of taken aback at the simplicity of it all and I was a bit on the iffy side, but the truth is that the further I got into it the more I realized that it's not simple at all -- it is intelligent and works at a level of complexity I hadn't anticipated.

    Just briefly, I suppose this book is what most people are calling it, a coming-of-age story, following Claude McKay Love beginning with childhood growing up in an African-American neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. His life is a series of people leaving, with his parents taking off first, followed here and there by his friends. The only solid thing in Claude's life is his grandmother, who along with her live-in friend Paul brings him up as best as she can, which isn't always easy. What makes this somewhat atypical of a standard coming-of-age tale is in the way the author also examines different forms of oppression, racism and ideology that find their way into Claude's life, as well as how he copes with it all.

    Do not let the simplicity of the prose or the style fool you. And think out of the box when you get to the end, which seems both simplistic and unrealistic, but the author is making a point here. While there are a number of funny moments where I couldn't help but laugh,

    is a serious novel telling a serious story that needs to be heard and asking questions that need to be asked. Very highly recommended, and Mr. Bump should be congratulated for a first novel very well done.

    If anyone in the US would like my copy of this paperback arc (I don't keep them, preferring to share), please pm me and I'll be happy to give it to you.

  • Truman32

    In many ways a good book is like a well-executed kidnapping. They both sweep you up before you even know what is happening. They club you over the head with a tube sock full of quarters and suddenly you are unable to get away. Soon a hanky with suspicious stains and reeking of Chloroform is jammed into your mouth and you find yourself transported to a place you have never been before. A place that is enthralling and all encompassing. And that is it, you have been taken.

    Gabriel Bumps novel

    In many ways a good book is like a well-executed kidnapping. They both sweep you up before you even know what is happening. They club you over the head with a tube sock full of quarters and suddenly you are unable to get away. Soon a hanky with suspicious stains and reeking of Chloroform is jammed into your mouth and you find yourself transported to a place you have never been before. A place that is enthralling and all encompassing. And that is it, you have been taken.

    Gabriel Bump’s novel

    abducts the reader to the South Shore of Chicago. As everyone knows, the South side of Chicago is the baddest part of town and if you go down there you better just beware. Claude McKay Love has lived a tough life. Though his family provides love and support they are weird and unconventional. His mother and father abandoned him at an early age leaving his upbringing to grandma and her tenant/friend. His neighborhood is riddled in crime. He doesn’t fit in with his peers at school and as a young African American man he struggles to find a sense of belonging (particularly in an America that seems to dismiss him based only on his skin color). This is pretty heady stuff, but Bump writes in a sardonic and gallows type of humor that anyone whose name is Bump has no doubt developed over many years of schoolyard wedgies and dripping wet willies. The humor is evocative of Joseph Heller – bleak but funny.

    shines a spotlight on experiences that are often underrepresented in our society. The book has enough narrative drive to make the story interesting and is not a novel that preaches its message so loudly it sacrifices the story. And while the places it takes you can be rough and heartbreaking (and this too is like a kidnapping, after all who wants to be thrown in a basement chained to a busted washing machine and forced to pee into a bucket until your family can gather the $1500 ransom) it is a trip that is eye-opening.

  • Matthew

    A long, long time ago (2001-02), in a galaxy far, far away (suburban Detroit), yours truly worked in his familys restaurant amidst a select group of miscreants whose petty shenanigans were as eye-opening as they were unrelatable. Its not as though I hadnt been privy to trouble and those who make it. I had just never before associated with people who seem to feed, if not thrive, off of it.

    Case in point: Christine, a bartender and mother of 4, whose credit score was lower than I thought

    A long, long time ago (2001-02), in a galaxy far, far away (suburban Detroit), yours truly worked in his family’s restaurant amidst a select group of miscreants whose petty shenanigans were as eye-opening as they were unrelatable. It’s not as though I hadn’t been privy to trouble and those who make it. I had just never before associated with people who seem to feed, if not thrive, off of it.

    Case in point: Christine, a bartender and mother of 4, whose credit score was lower than I thought imaginable (if memory serves correct it was in the 400s). For as much bitching she would do about bill collectors “harassing” her, she still continued purchasing anything and everything her kids – and her deadbeat, unemployed husband – requested, all the while missing mortgage payments left and right. I shan’t even get into her opioid dependency.

    Long story short, Christine and her family had their house repossessed by the bank. I’m not so heartless to which I didn’t feel sympathetic, however that soon went out the window once I heard Christine’s hair-brained solution to all of her problems: to simply run away from them.

    “We’ll move up north. We can get a lot more house for a lot cheaper up there.” she asserted.

    “But what about the bills you owe? Your credit score?” I countered.

    “Ain’t our problem. They took my house!”

    Where Christine is nowadays is beyond me. Maybe – hopefully – she wizened up, started prioritizing better and taking responsibility for her actions. Either way, she dug her own grave and would have to dig herself out of it – even if said digging is with a shovel likely provided by debt collectors. Moral of the story: you can’t run away from your problems.

    That being said, some problems aren’t so cut and dry. Take Claude, the protagonist of Gabriel Bump’s debut, Everywhere You Don’t Belong, for instance. Like Christine, he chooses to get the fuck out of dodge with hopes the troubles he experienced as a child would stay behind. Unlike Christine, however, his “problems” – where he was born and raised (south shore of Chicago), the color of his skin (black) – were completely out of his control.

    These aren’t the extent of Claude’s issues, though. We learn early on about his upbringing, the shit hand he’s been dealt, his struggle to, fittingly, find a place where he feels as though he belongs. Abandoned by ne'er-do-well parents and raised by his grandmother, Claude is an outlier – introverted, studious, awkward – amongst the gang-bangers that predominantly make up his neighborhood.

    Thankfully Claude finds solace in his spitfire of a grandma, an eccentric family friend (Paul) and his fellow outcast/crush, Janice. And yet even they are not enough to counteract the drugs, gangs and criminal activities that riddle their neighborhood. When a young (and innocent) south shore boy is wrongly killed by police, an intense riot ensues, leaving Claude at a crossroads: does he side with his neighborhood despite its proclivity for violence, or side with the authorities that killed one of their own?

    This prompts Claude’s flight elsewhere, and sets up the back half of Everywhere You Don’t Belong. Accepted into University of Missouri’s prestigious journalism program, he hopes to establish an identity of his own. And while he’s able to forge the semblance of a path, the troubles Claude had hoped to escape prove inescapable; he is a black man living in an America where racism is not just alive, it may never die.

    Everywhere You Don’t Belong is neither perfect nor ground-breakingly original. But where it shines is through the sharp, insightful, sardonic tone Gabriel Bump establishes throughout. The banter betwixt characters, in concert with Bump’s enthrallingly vivid descriptions of Chicago’s urban landscape, make for a fulfilling reading experience. It’s funny, quirky, ironic, heartbreaking. It’s a mirror of modern society, and what makes this country both great and terrifying. Moreover, Everywhere You Don’t Belong is proof positive some problems are unavoidable unless real change can occur. Whether or not it can is simply up to us.

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