Daniel Black’s They Tell Me of a Home is like watching an episode of The Maury Show or The Jerry Springer Show — without the commercials. Entertained by someone else’s drama, it kept me flipping pages.

Tommy Lee Tyson, the main character in this book, has some important lessons to learn. And his hometown in Arkansas, which he leaves so abruptly at age 18 — when, free from parental control, he gets as far away from as he can — is just the place to learn them. At the age of 28, Tommy Lee Tyson is returning home the same way he left, on a Greyhound bus with luggage in hand. 

All families have a few skeletons, but no one could be prepared for the rattling skeletons this family has. To top it off, the strange relationship he's had with his parents is finally explained and he comes to a better understanding of why there has always been a strange tension. Predictably, Tommy Lee Tyson is faced with a life altering decision that’ll put him on the road to fulfilling his destiny. Though he is not quite emotionally prepared for what he has to face, his Ph.D. in African-American studies will come in handy.

Even though I expected it to end the way it does, author Black had a way of ending the novel with a curveball. He is an excellent writer and I look forward to reading his other books.

Copies of They Tell Me of a Home are available at Queens Library.