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Coming of age with Asali Solomon's 'Disgruntled'
Coming of age with Asali Solomon's 'Disgruntled'

With her 2006 fiction collection "Get Down," Asali Solomon established herself as a short-form artist with a knack for writing misfits in black middle-class Philadelphia. Her first novel, "Disgruntled," is a fitting follow-up — a smart, philosophical coming-of-age tale featuring a vivid protagonist who battles "the shame of being alive." When we first meet Kenya Curtis in the late '80s, she is in fourth grade at Henry Charles Lea School in West Philadelphia, where she has exactly one friend. Unlike the other kids in her class, Kenya celebrates Kwanzaa, calls her father Baba and is forbidden to eat bologna or say the Pledge of Allegiance. Her...

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