Abraham Singleton tells his story, from conception until he
reaches the age of adulthood. Most would say that at his
eighteenth birthday, he becomes a man, but Abraham has one
foot in the adult world long before he reaches the legal
age, thrown there by generations of circumstances beyond his
control. He claws and scratches his way to maturity,
fighting against stereotypes and low or false expectations,
always aware—if not fully believing—that there's a bigger,
better world available to him if he can only continue to
fight, and live, long enough to get there.
HOLD LOVE STRONG was surprising in so many ways. Many
fiction books touch my emotions. Some make me laugh; some
raise my hackles. Few, if any, make me cry. HOLD LOVE
STRONG brought me to the brink of tears, not one but twice.
Yet, this story also wrought those other emotions in me
too. It make me chuckle at remembrances of the fun and
positive side of growing up in an urban environment. It
also made me angry to recall what it's like to deal with
folks and situations that are determined to bring a person
down despite his best efforts.
The most surprising aspect about this book is that the
author, Matthew Aaron Goodman, is white. Now, that's not to
say that white authors can't write books about the Black
experience in America. I don't believe that to be true.
However, Mr. Goodman writes almost as though he's lived the
Black experience, likely a by-product of his close, caring
and observant relationships with the students and other
professionals in the NYC school system, not to mention the
rest of the city. It becomes obvious Mr. Goodman looks
beneath the surface, seeing and empathizing with the
individuals hidden below perpetuated and oft-times erroneous
assumptions made about them and their circumstances. At the
same time, he pulls no punches, pulling back the covers and
exposing the elements of the urban environment that are all
too negative and raw and lead to the stereotypes easily
enjoyed by the media.
HOLD LOVE STRONG may be the best urban coming of age story
I've ever read, especially as it holds the promise of
triumph for young Abraham Singleton and as such serves to
let today's youth know that it is possible to transcend a
In this poignant tale of self-discovery, a young man
struggles to survive the New York City housing projects in
the face of familial, communal, and personal
Born to a thirteen-year-old in the
bathroom of his family's small apartment, Abraham Sing leton
enters a world laden with the obstacles inherent in an
impoverished community. In spite of the crack epidemic and
the HIV crisis that ravage their neighborhood, the Singleton
family -- cousins, an uncle, an aunt, Abraham, and his
mother -- is held together by Abraham's heroic grandmother,
whose deep faith and stoic nature have always given them a
sense of wholeness and hope. But when the family goes
through several harrowing losses, not even his grandmother
may be strong enough to lead them through.
At the center
of this story is Abraham, the youngest of the Singletons.
Deeply intuitive and cerebral, he is determined to thrive in
a place that has destroyed the dreams of those around him.
College means opportunity, yet it also means leaving behind
those he loves. Abraham's journey into adulthood will break
his heart but ultimately offer the possibility of
In this haunting, lyrical, and evocative
novel, Matthew Goodman composes a paean to the power of
family and belonging in the African-American community.
Hold Love Strong is a spellbinding coming-of-age tale
about love, hope, and the will to survive, and a stunning
universal story about the incredible capacity of the human