14-year-old Louis Bowman grows up with a mother who puts holes in him, “Daddy Ben,” whose Sunday beatings masquerade as boxing lessons, and stranger on the train Ed MacMillan, who attempts to rape him. His silent grandfather and sister Lorelle are the only innocuous family members that he has.
Dr. Davis, with her blue hair, speaks to him at Burgess. It may be an insane asylum, but it gives him some peace and humane treatment. At home, he can never do anything well enough, he feels unwanted, and he longs to disappear. Words from his mother and snapshots of the motel where he was violated continually obfuscate his reality. At Burgess, he relaxes and watches the professional staff and patients with amusement.
Ray Anthony Robinson is somebody that Louis would like to be, or like to be with. Suave, well-dressed, carefree and good-humored, Ray Anthony is nice and sweet to him... and he looks good too. This nearly celestial figure moves in and out of Louis’ life.
In Harlem, Louis’ grandfather takes apart radios and always dresses as though he is ready for a business meeting, even though he rarely leaves the house. Louis looks out the window and does his homework when he visits. In Harlem, people bustle about all of the time, even though snow, wind and rain.
In Stratfield, CT, people stay at home during snow storms.
Sunday You Learn How to Box by Bil Wright, 2013