I Don't Want to Visit This Street
This was a book club read that never grabbed me emotionally, which made it difficult for me to finish. But I did want to see the resolution of the mystery, so I plodded through.
Valerie is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Red Hook -- an impoverished harbor town within sight of New York City. She and her friend June grow restless on a hot summer night and take a flimsy raft out onto the water.
Cree is a young man (19ish?) who also is restless, and he follows the girls' floating journey with fascination. Cree's father was killed in a neighborhood shooting years ago, and his mother now talks to the dead. He has dreams of attending college but worries about his mother and his family making it without him. Although sensing a presence watching him that night, Cree jumps in the water to join the girls, but the swift current blocks his advance and he loses sight of them.
Jonathan is a music teacher alcoholic who stumbles upon Valerie's injured body the next morning and brings her to the owner of a local convenience store: Hafi. Jonathan and Hafi get her to the hospital.
But where's June
? What happened to her?
The story weaves together the lives of Red Hook residents -- White, Black, Latino, and Muslim. It's gritty and raw, and well written. It deftly explores the gray of humanity. But I have two complaints:
1) Visitation Street is mired in depression, with no sense of hope.
2) I didn't emotionally connect with the characters.
This book has received positive critical reviews, so you may enjoy it more than I did.