For all the history books about the first steps of integration, this account is by someone who lived it! Jesse's storytelling technique is so honest and pure - the reader can't help but get swept away with him. You feel what he felt.
The relationships with his mother and father were especially touching for me. The roller coaster of real family through Jesse's view - the imperfection and beauty of real people - quirks and flaws included.
Humor abounds with a narrative voice that rings true. I laughed out loud at his comedic style in describing what he was thinking.
The re-telling of Jesse's childhood is funny and tender. Jesse has a one of a kind way of describing the details of a situation so the reader has the setting laid out perfectly in your head.
The themes are universal - family, community, coming to age and race relations. A perfect read for those that grew up in the fifties - and a good teaching book for anyone who wants to learn what it was like - it's a must read.
Elizabeth Fall, Seattle, WA
"Away From My Mother’s Watchful Eye" was one of the most delightful and memorable reads I’ve ever had. On the one hand, I wanted to read it really fast because I couldn’t wait to hangout with ”Reedy." Then again, I wanted to read it really slowly because I wanted to savor every page of this nostalgic walk through a special time. Away… was special for me because I grew up in the “hood” in Washington D.C. I was born in 1957 and my older brother was born in 1955. We both left our public school in 1972 and 1970 respectively to attend a prestigious private boarding school. Certainly the successful pioneering of people like Mr. Mayfield and that initial group of kids, paved the way for us. To hear such a familiar story told by one of us was refreshing and joyous. As a long time member of the B-O-T-M Club, I hope to see this fine book on their’s and all other top reader lists. Truly, this coming-of-age story stands along with classics like "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," as an American story that appeals to all segments of society.
Garland Graves, Suitland, MD
Not only a coming-of-age story, this tale is a humorous, informative journey of a young man's life. Author Jesse A. Mayfield is among a group of African-American children chosen to be bused to an all White Brooklyn school. Anecdotes and stories from Jesse A. Mayfield's life relate to every person regardless of faith, race, or background. If you are nostalgic for the sixties, and you want to enjoy learning a little bit more about the highlights of this eventful decade, this is the book to read. You'll also have a good laugh.
Fil Marchese, Mt. Sinai, NY
The book is excellent. It could be made into a good movie in the mode of the "Soul Food" series. I think I would enjoy watching this in the theatre. It brought back a lot of memories that I think people, especially the Baby Boomers, would relate to; just the trials and tribulations of growing up.
Samuel Allen Pinckney, Brooklyn, NY
I read your novel, and found it to be very interesting. It was great reading. Your childhood growing up in New York and the portrait you painted of your family members made for a very good read.
Lynetta Jordan, Los Angeles, CA
I am in awe that you capture so many emotions and weave them through the story. You make me laugh and then cry in a matter of paragraphs. I find my heart gripped and I feel on the verge of tears from chapter to chapter. I can tell you loved your mom very much and that she was your heart. This book is a great gift and the more I read the more I feel humbled that you are sharing it with me. The book is very moving and I feel like I am walking through your life. As a writer, you have accomplished the greatest purpose and that is drawing the reader into the very moments of your life and I am speechless. I laughed and got tears in my eyes. Wow! Not to lay it on too thick but just, Wow! Great book. Congratulations!
Corine E. Channell, Binghamtom, New York
Once in a great while, a polished work of art explodes onto the literary scene and totally captivates the reader. Such is the case with Jesse A. Mayfield’s, “Away From My Mother’s Watchful Eye.” This thought provoking, warm and humorous novel provides detailed insight into the author’s rite-of-passage. You are taken on a marvelous journey through the various stages of a young boy coming-of-age in Brooklyn, New York.
The seventh decade of the 20 century, the 1960’s finds the author trying to acclimate himself, as one of the first African-American students to be bused to an all White school. During an era of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of great leaders and the Civil Rights Movement, the youngster survives and finds his niche in the world. Woven into this beautiful tale, is a mixture of family love, values, and strength. Mr. Mayfield is a talented writer whose literary style brings the characters to life. This story will be long remembered after the last page is turned. In essence, “Away From My Mother’s Watchful Eye,” is destined to become a staple of American literature.
Joyce Delarosa, Aurora, CO
Very interesting reading. I truly enjoyed it!! Excellent work !
Talent Agent, Los Angeles, CA.
I read “Away From My Mother’s Watchful Eye” on my way to work this week. I loved it!! It was such a fast read. You have an extraordinary way with words and I think you've got a best seller on your hands!!!
Susie Collins, New York City