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Hard Cover eBook

HARDCOVER

PAGES: 368

TRIM SIZE: 5.5 X 8.25

ISBN: 978-1-61620-467-9

LIST PRICE: $25.95

E-book

ISBN: 978-1-61620-595-9

LIST PRICE: $25.95

“Beside the stairs was a large oil portrait banked with lights, the brightest we’d seen in the Institute so far. The plaque read MISS JULIA TONEYBEE-LEROY, FOUNDER, 1929. Something inside of me flipped over when I saw that picture. In the painting, beside her, on the table, held up by a stick through the skull, were the bright, white bones of a squat skeleton.”

The Freeman family—Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie—have been invited to the Toneybee Institute in rural Massachusetts to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected for the experiment because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family.

Isolated in their new, nearly all-white community not just by their race but by their strange living situation, the Freemans come undone. And when Charlotte discovers the truth about the Institute’s history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past begin to invade the present.

The power of this novel resides in Kaitlyn Greenidge’s undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.

Praise

“Terrifically auspicious . . . Ms. Greenidge has charted an ambitious course for a book that begins so mock-innocently. And she lets the suspicion and outrage mount as the Freemans’ true situation unfolds. This author is also a historian, and she makes the “1929” on Toneybee plaque tell another, equally gripping story that strongly parallels the Freemans’ 1990 experience.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“…witty and provocative… Greenidge deftly handles a host of complex themes and characters, exploring not just how (literally) institutionalized racism is, but the difficulty of an effective response to it. … Greenidge doesn’t march to a pat answer; the power of the book is in her understanding of how clarity wriggles out of reach. For all the seriousness of its themes, though, Charlie Freeman is also caustically funny.” USA Today

“Kaitlyn Greenidge’s masterful debut novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman is at heart an examination of race and language — an African-American family is hired by a New England research institute to raise and teach sign language to a chimpanzee, but the institute has a shockingly dark past. We Love You, Charlie Freeman skillfully tackles history and heavy subjects with both humor and thoughtfulness; this book proves Greenidge will be a literary force to be reckoned with.” Buzzfeed.com

“When you first step into the pages of Kaitlyn Greenidge’s wonderfully audacious debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, you’re not quite sure where she’s going. Well, buckle up for an unforgettable journey.” Essence

Bio

Kaitlyn Greenidge was born in Boston. She received her MFA from Hunter College. Her work has appeared in The Believer, American Short Fiction, Guernica, Kweli Journal, The Feminist Wire, Afro Pop Magazine, Green Mountains Review and other places. She is the recipient of fellowships from Lower Manhattan Community Council’s Work-Space Program; Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and other prizes. She currently lives in Brooklyn.