Monday, February 8, 2021

"No Heaven for Good Boys"

Keisha Bush was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she was a Riggio Honors Teaching Fellow and recipient of an NSPE Dean’s Scholarship. After a career in corporate finance and international development that brought her to live in Dakar, Senegal, she decided to focus full-time on her writing. She lives in East Harlem.

Bush applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, No Heaven For Good Boys, and reported the following:
From page 69:
…floor in an attempt to crawl away, but he’s dragged back by his leg. Again, and again the cane comes down on him. Then cane whines under the pressure, threatening to crack with the force of each swing, but he can no longer feel the blows. If he stops crying out, it will probably make Marabout angrier than he already is, so every time the wood slams into his body, Ibrahimah cries out on cue. His voice becomes hoarser with every blow.
In No Heaven For Good Boys, page 69 is the very end of chapter 7, which is a pretty tumultuous chapter. In this chapter, we are with the protagonist, a 6-year-old street boy, who has to collect a minimum amount of money, the equivalent of about .75 USD a day, and return it to his religious teacher at the end of the day.

Because page 69 entails roughly eighty-one words of text, the reader wouldn’t get the full scope of the book from this short excerpt, but they would get a good idea of the perils the protagonist and other children in the book experience when they do not return back to their religious teacher with the proper amount of money.

This last scene was a very hard scene to write. The violence in the book is not gratuitous but instead necessary to portray the lives that these very real children in West Africa have to endure.

The good news is that the book is so much more than the abuses the boys experience at the hands of their teacher. The power of faith, love, and hope are what eventually give both the protagonist and his mother the courage to overcome the injustice of parent and child forced apart. And even in a life of difficulty, there are moments of humor, love, and empathy, and those are portrayed in the book as well.
Visit Keisha Bush's website.

My Book, The Movie: No Heaven for Good Boys.

--Marshal Zeringue