Nathan McCall's Them
Them is a tremendous book, not only because it speaks to a major issue affecting inner-cities, but because it pulls back the veil between black and white cultures. McCall deftly investigates the stereotypes of the blacks and whites who live in urban areas. No one is safe from McCall's realistic pen: the community organizer/civil rights activist is really arrogant and motivated by personal aims; the white members of the neighborhood clean-up league would rather get together for a cocktail and talk about the dangerous community than work with their black neighbors. What you think makes a diverse neighborhood tick is not always the case, as McCall reveals the complex cultural negotiations that go on everyday in these mixed areas. At points humorous, at others maddening, this novel will change the way you think about your inner-city 'hood.