Everywhere You Don't Belong
In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s 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 heartbreak, picking a college, moving away from home.    Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights–era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America.    Percolating with fierceness and originality, attuned to the ironies inherent in our twenty-first-century landscape, Everywhere You Don’t Belong marks the arrival of a brilliant young talent.  

Everywhere You Don't Belong Details

TitleEverywhere You Don't Belong
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherAlgonquin Books
ISBN-139781616208790
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Cultural, African American, Literary Fiction

Everywhere You Don't Belong Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Chris Blocker
    January 1, 1970
    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. Everywhere You Don't Belong 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 The 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. Everywhere You Don't Belong 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 The Instructions are here. The build up to a battle to end all battles (Infinite Jest's tennis war or The Instructions' 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 Infinite Jest, I thoroughly enjoyed The Instructions and I do think Everywhere You Don't Belong is an excellent companion piece.Given the length of Everywhere You Don't Belong (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.Everywhere You Don't Belong comes out in February 2020. And if I haven't made it clear yet, I recommend this novel for fans of Adam Levin.
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  • Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Nancy Oakes
    January 1, 1970
    full post here:https://www.readingavidly.com/2020/02...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:https://www.readingavidly.com/2020/02...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, Everywhere You Don't Belong 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.
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  • jo
    January 1, 1970
    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. .
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  • Truman32
    January 1, 1970
    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 Everywhere You Don’t Belong 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. Everywhere You Don’t Belong 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.
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  • Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Estee
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Greg Zimmerman
    January 1, 1970
    4.5First appeared at https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...My experience growing up was quite literally the exact opposite of that of the character Claude in Gabriel Bump's funny, sharp, and tragic debut novel, Everywhere You Don't Belong. I grew up in a pleasant small town in Ohio with a supportive family and no real problems. Still, I moved to a big city the first chance I got. Conversely, Claude's parents abandon him when he's young and he's raised by his grandmother in the at-times rough 4.5First appeared at https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...My experience growing up was quite literally the exact opposite of that of the character Claude in Gabriel Bump's funny, sharp, and tragic debut novel, Everywhere You Don't Belong. I grew up in a pleasant small town in Ohio with a supportive family and no real problems. Still, I moved to a big city the first chance I got. Conversely, Claude's parents abandon him when he's young and he's raised by his grandmother in the at-times rough South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. He moves to a small college town (Columbia, Missouri) the first chance he gets. (Bump also grew up in South Shore, a neighborhood probably most famous as Michelle Obama's home, as well.)So it's a tribute to Bump (and maybe more than a little presumptuous on my part to say) how relatable Claude felt. He's an introvert. He's awkward around girls specifically, but people generally. He likes to read. And he wants to be a journalist. Everywhere You Don't Belong is the story of Claude's coming-of-age as a boy and teenager in South Shore, surviving a horrific race riot after the police kill a black man, crushing on his long-time family friend Janice who is beautiful but gets in some trouble, and finally realizing he needs to leave Chicago and matriculates to the University of Missouri.Bump packs a lot into this deceptively simple, fast-paced story. It's about racism. There's a bit of an unconventional first-love story. There is a careful consideration of mental health in the African American community. There are jocks and nerds. An old possibly alcoholic gay man named Paul who keeps hilariously trying to avenge perceived slights. Drugs. Gangs. More.But possibly the biggest strength of this slim but powerful novel is its voice. It's alternately funny and dead serious, but with a subtlety that really requires you to pay attention to catch both the profundity, and also the humor. Here's an exchange between teenaged Claude and his crush Janice that illustrates this:"Your grandma came to my house yesterday," Janice said."She's going around the neighborhood," I said."She's a little wild," Janice said."I'm sorry," I said. "She's worried about the future.""I like it," Janice said. "She screamed a little.""I'm sorry," I said again."They want to organize a march," Janice said."I'm sorry," I said."They want to take back the streets," Janice said.There's so much to unpack here — it's funny, it's sad, it's a little cringe-worthy. Poor Claude is so awkward! But this is representative of many of the quick-fire snippets of dialogue throughout the novel I really loved.Bump is getting the "arrival of a brilliant young talent" blurb treatment, a sentiment which is somewhat overused, but in this case perfectly apt. This is one Chicago writer for whom I can't wait to see what's next. I pealed through this book so quickly, I'm desperate for more of this voice! This book is highly recommended both as a terrific reading experience, and also to get in on the ground floor of a writer from whom you'll no doubt be hearing lots more.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    I don't quite remember what drew me to the book, but I remember eagerly awaiting for the release date to approach. But it sounded like a really interesting tale of a young man growing up in Chicago and coming of age with all of the dramas and angst that time period brings (plus with societal/cultural issues).Claude is growing up with his grandmother in Chicago and deals with life. His grandmother's live-in boyfriend (sort of), relationship troubles, being bullied at school and elsewhere, trying I don't quite remember what drew me to the book, but I remember eagerly awaiting for the release date to approach. But it sounded like a really interesting tale of a young man growing up in Chicago and coming of age with all of the dramas and angst that time period brings (plus with societal/cultural issues).Claude is growing up with his grandmother in Chicago and deals with life. His grandmother's live-in boyfriend (sort of), relationship troubles, being bullied at school and elsewhere, trying to fit in (or not), understanding his place in the world, etc. He is well-aware, as a young black man, how society views him and this is him navigating through a world that eyes him suspiciously.I wasn't feeling this one. It never really caught my attention. It's dialogue-heavy and none of the characters (including Claude), seemed to be particularly compelling or even fleshed out very well. There were moments and bits where I did feel for Claude (at the very end), but overall the book was forgettable.It could be this debut just doesn't work for me. Library borrow.
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  • Ms YaYa
    January 1, 1970
    * Before reading this review please know that although kept vague, I will be disclosing what DOES NOT happen. If this still SPOILS the story for you. Do not read any further 🙏Claude was a fascinating character, with intriguing circumstances and experiences. Claudes love interest, Janice, and unusual immediate family members were just as fascinating. In fact, what I enjoyed most were the more recent Black culture and Black history references made, as well as the colloquial leaps in time used to * Before reading this review please know that although kept vague, I will be disclosing what DOES NOT happen. If this still SPOILS the story for you. Do not read any further 🙏🏾Claude was a fascinating character, with intriguing circumstances and experiences. Claude’s “love interest”, Janice, and unusual immediate family members were just as fascinating. In fact, what I enjoyed most were the more recent Black culture and Black history references made, as well as the colloquial leaps in time used to describe scenes and states of mind for an atypical, yet familiar, cast of characters. I loved where this book was going; the anticipation of the book was exciting. It was refreshing to have a deeper perspective of Chicago during that time via this story. I was totally on board for this literary ride...I could not put it down. Then, about two-thirds in, the story took this weird turn that abruptly ended the journey. [I was lost and “should’ve made the left at Albuquerque” ~ Bugs Bunny 😁]I was completely confused about what was happening and why. There were new characters introduced and connections to the story that were pivotal to Claude’s “new beginning”. However, they were never really developed. I just could not grasp the impact these characters would have on Claude’s future decision-making and was left with a lot of questions. Maybe that was the point 🤔 Maybe it descended just like it should have. Overall, as mentioned before, I admire the author’s writing style. I also appreciate the story I believe he was trying to tell but was not able to execute seamlessly as anticipated. It is still worth the read. I am curious as to what others think about it.
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  • Emi Bevacqua
    January 1, 1970
    I'd be lying if I said this coming-of-age story about Claude didn't make me uncomfortable at times whatwith the violent upbringing in Chicago's South Shore by his grandma and her live-in partner of sorts, the inappropriate sexual relationship he shares with his little friend Janice, and basic lack of communication between all parties regarding all and sundry. What I did really like was Claude's awareness of black history, white privilege and social justice; his list of six important dates in I'd be lying if I said this coming-of-age story about Claude didn't make me uncomfortable at times whatwith the violent upbringing in Chicago's South Shore by his grandma and her live-in partner of sorts, the inappropriate sexual relationship he shares with his little friend Janice, and basic lack of communication between all parties regarding all and sundry. What I did really like was Claude's awareness of black history, white privilege and social justice; his list of six important dates in Black American History is impressive and should be replicated, and I would love to see him wax further on the philosophy of racist societal differences.
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  • Greta (botanyandbookends) Sutherland
    January 1, 1970
    As a white Midwesterner, I must say I felt a little voyeuristic peering into the world of a South Side Chicago teen as he navigated his way through life. As I read EVERYWHERE YOU DONT BELONG, I was repeatedly struck with how much mental fortitude can be cemented at a very early age. For some, strength and bravery are developed through strong family encouragement and societal achievements. For others, it is forged from repeated loss and boldly overcoming overwhelming obstacles.⠀Often the media As a white Midwesterner, I must say I felt a little voyeuristic peering into the world of a South Side Chicago teen as he navigated his way through life. As I read EVERYWHERE YOU DON’T BELONG, I was repeatedly struck with how much mental fortitude can be cemented at a very early age. For some, strength and bravery are developed through strong family encouragement and societal achievements. For others, it is forged from repeated loss and boldly overcoming overwhelming obstacles.⠀Often the media portrays life on the South Side of Chicago as either gang warfare or Michelle Obama. But where is the in-between? The place most urban Americans live? Author, Gabriel Bump takes us on a journey through the eyes of an everyday urban family living in a challenging neighborhood. He wanted his South Side readers to recognize themselves in his fictional (but true to life) story.⠀The tempo of EVERYWHERE YOU DON’T BELONG moves at a fast clip. It’s a reading style that takes a second to get used to. But once you’re in the rhythm, good luck putting the book down. There are abrupt but brief jumps to the future weaved throughout the telling of this story of one young black man who can’t quite find his place in the world. Death and abandonment are reoccurring themes in this generational story. The sheer determination to do better boils underneath all the chaos.⠀The time-period is predominantly during the Obama administration (a proud moment for any Chicagoan.) Change is promised but does the everyday black American see it? The main character is searching for the place where he belongs. It isn’t the civil-rights activism of his grandmother’s time but it also doesn’t seem to be in a college classroom either. He calls to question all of our individual stories of belongingness.⠀Mixed with humor and racial integrity, EVERYWHERE will make you think, will awaken you to societies and cultures vastly different than your own, and will ultimately ask you how you find your own place in our world.⠀This is a strong debut novel written from a place of knowing, believing and surviving.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    There's a lot that's good here. I appreciate a novel that addresses structural issues like racism and violence through and personal and idiosyncratic story. I liked that there was humor and beauty to be found, even in the midst of tragedy and destruction. But I also felt like this novel was so short and impressionistic that I couldn't really get a handle on it. I would have loved to see a big, sprawling, Dickensian saga with these same characters. Also, some excellent prose about basketball (a There's a lot that's good here. I appreciate a novel that addresses structural issues like racism and violence through and personal and idiosyncratic story. I liked that there was humor and beauty to be found, even in the midst of tragedy and destruction. But I also felt like this novel was so short and impressionistic that I couldn't really get a handle on it. I would have loved to see a big, sprawling, Dickensian saga with these same characters. Also, some excellent prose about basketball (a sport I don't even like):Jonah took off from the free-throw line. He spread his legs and caught the ball with one hand. He cleared his little brother by a foot. It looked like he would fly out of the cage and land somewhere in Ohio. He was a low-flying jet in the dusk. He returned to earth like a breaching whale. My legs quivered. Paul ran over and hugged him. His little brother held on to his waist."See that, Claude?" Paul asked. "That's how sex feels.""My God son, Paul said to Jonah. "You are a religion."
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  • The Happy Bibliophile
    January 1, 1970
    The MC is unimpressive and mediocre, as is the plot (if you can even call it that) of this book.
  • Georgette
    January 1, 1970
    Exactly the kind of book I needed to pull myself out of the depression. Thank you to Mark for recommending it.
  • Rachel León
    January 1, 1970
    You can read my review from Chicago Review of Books here: https://chireviewofbooks.com/2020/02/...
  • Laurel
    January 1, 1970
    Everywhere You Dont Belong is a very good debut novel. Gabriel Bumps characters, Claude, Janice, Grandma, and Paul, show a lot of passion, whether it be anger, love or laughter. The elders, Grandma and Paul, have found their place, Chicagos South Shore. At least, its a known. Grandma tells Claude, The entire universe is ruinedAnd no one wants us anywhere. She thinks this will keep her grandson in Chicago, but Claude knows its not for him and Janice finds out almost too late that its not for her Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a very good debut novel. Gabriel Bump’s characters, Claude, Janice, Grandma, and Paul, show a lot of passion, whether it be anger, love or laughter. The elders, Grandma and Paul, have found their place, Chicago’s South Shore. At least, it’s a known. Grandma tells Claude, “The entire universe is ruined…And no one wants us anywhere.” She thinks this will keep her grandson in Chicago, but Claude knows it’s not for him and Janice finds out almost too late that it’s not for her either. The book takes the reader with them to find their place. Claude moves to Missouri and eventually, Janice ends up there, too. Along the way, we’re reminded that not much has changed since the 60s. There’s still racial hatred, injustice and violence. Professor Connie Stove’s dialogues (as well as the caricature taco guy Martin) had me shaking my head and also cringing because Bump was so well on target. Sometimes I was frustrated by what I took to be Claude’s ambivalence or inaction. I thought it watered down his character a bit. He could still be confused or questioning without, to me, almost escaping the pages. Aside from this, I still liked the book and thought a lot could be said for Gabriel Bump’s first attempt. I look forward to another by this author. I think it will be even stronger and more powerful.
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  • Stacie C
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating is somewhere between 3.5-4 stars. I just can't put my finger on it. review to come.
  • Rosa
    January 1, 1970
    This novel refuses to let you pin it down to any one tone or plot point, but it doesn't matter because the sheer poetry of the writing, as well as the (sometimes-gallows) humor, is strong enough to carry the reader along. I was actually put in mind of Donald Glover's "Atlanta" - the setting is obviously different, but both richly convey myriad truths about what it's like to be black in America through absurdist humor, unpredictable plot lines/tone, and a deep sense of place.Unfortunately, This novel refuses to let you pin it down to any one tone or plot point, but it doesn't matter because the sheer poetry of the writing, as well as the (sometimes-gallows) humor, is strong enough to carry the reader along. I was actually put in mind of Donald Glover's "Atlanta" - the setting is obviously different, but both richly convey myriad truths about what it's like to be black in America through absurdist humor, unpredictable plot lines/tone, and a deep sense of place.Unfortunately, something about the last part of this novel (which some readers are referring to as a "surreal turn") didn't work for me. What grounds the "anything can happen" nature of this book is how vividly Claude's inner workings are rendered - Claude never quite "fits" regardless of where he is, but no matter how much Claude is an outsider, he always seems to know who he is, and is able to communicate that essence to us - Bump's agility and grace in balancing these elements are the heart of this story. Sadly, style and plot trample over some of this magic in the closing parts, almost like Bump was trying to jack things up to a Get Out level of surrealism (via Tarantino plot mechanics), but it doesn't quite pan out. Nevertheless, the parts of the book that I loved (most of it) make this a very worthwhile read.2 notes - at some point I noticed that the characters are usually? never? referred to by race; I've seen a few white writers do this in a few recent books (write around the ethnicity of a not-white character, rather than just label it), but not a POC writer. Bump's doing this pulls you further into Claude's world, making you more reliant on what Claude chooses to share with you, in order to get your bearings... it also highlights the point that we don't usually notice we're different. It's always someone or something else that instills that sense of "difference" into us. When race/ethnicity is explicitly noted in this novel, it's typically after a point of conflict (such as being one of two black writers in the room, who are subsequently both singled out and asked to write about diversity, or such as being harassed for being immigrants by Islamophobic white locals). Second, it's highly amusing that Gabriel Bump keeps explaining in all interviews (and even in the plot summary here) that Claude is defined by how "ordinary" he is. While I understand and completely agree that there's a need to write about POC characters Not because they might be the next Michael Jordan/Malala/YoYo Ma, that we should want to read about Claude McKay simply because he's a human being, there's nothing "ordinary" about a kid who goes into a room and notices everything about everyone else inside of 30 seconds, and is able to render his impressions with such devastating detail: "I sat next to my roommate, Kenneth. He smelled like dust. Pimple scars ran from his ears down to his chin. He had short, sharp hair like broken spaghetti." Yikes - I'm sitting far away from that guy, before he tells me about myself.
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  • Dree
    January 1, 1970
    Claude, the main character, is a typical teen despite his somewhat unusual upbringing in South Shore, Chicago (where Bump himself grew up). He struggles with abandonment issues (his parents left him to be raised by his grandmother, his friends keep moving to "better" neighborhoods). Only Janice stays, and Janice should have some abandonment issues of her own. She channels her issues into hared of the gang who instigated a riot.Despite his often feeling out of place (even with Janice's friends) Claude, the main character, is a typical teen despite his somewhat unusual upbringing in South Shore, Chicago (where Bump himself grew up). He struggles with abandonment issues (his parents left him to be raised by his grandmother, his friends keep moving to "better" neighborhoods). Only Janice stays, and Janice should have some abandonment issues of her own. She channels her issues into hared of the gang who instigated a riot.Despite his often feeling out of place (even with Janice's friends) and unwanted, he knows he is loved--like so many teenagers from all kinds of places and upbringings. Bump has created a character who is funny and somewhat irreverant, but also lost and unclear on how to accomplish his dream of getting out and doing "something".He heads to college in Missouri, to major in journalism. He has a weird roommate and doesn't much like working on the school paper, or the people he works with. Does he like his major? He doesn't know. When he and the other black staffer are assigned the "diversity project" he realizes this isn't going to work. He doesn't even understand what they want or what to do or how. And then Janice comes for a surprise visit. The story goes absurd and surreal from here, but I could not help rooting for these characters, and their chance to get back at the two groups they feel ruined their childhoods.
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  • Claire M.
    January 1, 1970
    Algonquin Book Tour stop! Everywhere You Dont Belong is a debut novel from Gabriel Bump set in the South Side of Chicago that focuses on a young black man named Claude McKay Love. Raised by his civil rights-era grandmother, Claude faces typical teenage struggles but also struggles to live up to the expectations set for him. His grandmother dreams of him being an activist. When riots erupt in their neighborhood, he hesitates to get involved. In the second part of this book, Claude moves far away Algonquin Book Tour stop! Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a debut novel from Gabriel Bump set in the South Side of Chicago that focuses on a young black man named Claude McKay Love. Raised by his civil rights-era grandmother, Claude faces typical teenage struggles but also struggles to live up to the expectations set for him. His grandmother dreams of him being an activist. When riots erupt in their neighborhood, he hesitates to get involved. In the second part of this book, Claude moves far away from Chicago for college, believing that he can leave the existing racial tensions behind. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that is more difficult than he thought. •I flew through this novel! I loved how witty Bump’s writing was and how he inserted dark humor. This novel led me to every emotion on the spectrum. I particularly loved how Bump intertwined Claude and Claude’s grandmother lives. His grandmother provided an additional perspective to the shaping of Claude’s character. I would love to meet his grandmother, as she was a wonderful role model for Claude. Claude’s character arc was beautifully written. My only complaint was that I felt that 75% of the novel was really strong, but the last quarter seemed to wrap up very quickly. Maybe that was just me though, since I could’ve read 100 more pages about Claude and his grandmother. I look forward to reading Bump’s next work!•Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5*Thank you to Algonquin books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this as an advance copy from Algonquin Books. Thank you. I had read some of the reviews prior to starting the book and kept an open mind. I agree that not everyone will be wowed by this book. I enjoyed the characters, but everyone seems rather lost and without any kind of direction. The book wanders from place to place and thought to thought. Although I kept an open mind, I guess I was hoping the book would go somewhere, make more of a statement. That said, I liked Claude, the main I received this as an advance copy from Algonquin Books. Thank you. I had read some of the reviews prior to starting the book and kept an open mind. I agree that not everyone will be wowed by this book. I enjoyed the characters, but everyone seems rather lost and without any kind of direction. The book wanders from place to place and thought to thought. Although I kept an open mind, I guess I was hoping the book would go somewhere, make more of a statement. That said, I liked Claude, the main character, his grandmother, who had a strong sense of what direction Claude should follow, Paul the good friend of Grandma and Janice, who I think loved Claude and he her. I just wish their characters were a bit more developed, I would have liked to have gotten to know them better.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    This was a frustrating book. It is billed as witty, profound and even comical. There is absolutely nothing funny in this book. The protagonist is sad, lost and often pathetic while navigating violent, terrifying and tragic events. The supporting characters are broken and useless, his family members nearly so dysfunctional that they are abusive. This book highlights systematic racism, rage, terror and police brutality. But the bewildered protagonist leaves readers frustrated and unsatisfied. He This was a frustrating book. It is billed as witty, profound and even comical. There is absolutely nothing funny in this book. The protagonist is sad, lost and often pathetic while navigating violent, terrifying and tragic events. The supporting characters are broken and useless, his family members nearly so dysfunctional that they are abusive. This book highlights systematic racism, rage, terror and police brutality. But the bewildered protagonist leaves readers frustrated and unsatisfied. He never finds his place or how to make any sort of difference.
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    So far out of my realm as an older white woman this book really pulled me in. Telling the life of Claude whose parents abandon him and he is raised by his grandmother on the south side of Chicago would not be my normal reading choice but so glad I read this book. Getting past the jargon initially held me up but soon I was in the swing of Claude's life and admired him and especially his grandmother for staying together as a family. So well written!
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  • Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
    January 1, 1970
    I did a quarter of this on audio, and while there were glimmers here and there of some literary talent, nothing grabbed me enough to continue. Lifes too short. I did a quarter of this on audio, and while there were glimmers here and there of some literary talent, nothing grabbed me enough to continue. Life‘s too short.
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  • Bill Silva
    January 1, 1970
    Comic, tragic (with some tragedy played as comedy), poignant, and biting in its satire and social commentary. Despite a sense of being underdeveloped in places and unfinished (there is a whole novel in Claude's college experiences), this is an appealing and provocative debut by a talented writer. Much to enjoy here.
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  • Jami Sailor
    January 1, 1970
    Love the style of writing but lost patience after awhile. South (Shore) side trauma and wonder.
  • Elzecatreads
    January 1, 1970
    *Thanks to Goodreads and Algonquin books for a free Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Gabriel Bump's debut novel is composed of short, sometimes funny yet also poignant sketches in the life of Claude, a young black man growing up in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood. Raised by his grandmother after his restless parents abandon him, Claude is struggling to find his place in the world. I enjoyed his writing style and watching Claude grow into a smart, sensitive *Thanks to Goodreads and Algonquin books for a free Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Gabriel Bump's debut novel is composed of short, sometimes funny yet also poignant sketches in the life of Claude, a young black man growing up in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood. Raised by his grandmother after his restless parents abandon him, Claude is struggling to find his place in the world. I enjoyed his writing style and watching Claude grow into a smart, sensitive young man. The parts of the book I could most relate to were Claude's initial college days, but this fast-moving book contains universal themes of love, chosen family, and belonging. A few quotes I especially liked:"Whenever we come together...they want to break us apart.""I thought of things I would die for. All of them were beside me.""Leaving won't make you happy." "It might.""I didn't know despair had a smell."
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