A story set in the ’60 that feels way too contemporary. A must read.
Gouster Girl by David E. Gumpert released in December in the Young Adult genre.
Gouster Girl is the coming of age, risky affair between Valerie Davis a cute black girl from the South Side of Chicago and nerdy white Jeffrey Stark. While the two are somewhat smitten they are late to realize that falling in love on Chicago’s South Side in 1963 is a highly risky business for an interracial couple.
Opportunities arise for both of them to help one another out of tough fixes—he saves her from attack at an all-white amusement park and she saves him from injury in a racial brawl at their high school. But as their romance becomes more serious, so do the racial dangers. White police target Valerie as a prostitute and black gang members see Jeffrey as trying to sexually exploit a black girl. Seemingly inevitably, the blossoming romance collides head on with the realities of Northern-style racism one hot summer afternoon at one of Chicago’s most beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, when a racial protest turns ugly, confronting the couple with terrible choices.
At lunch on Tuesday, Nate brought it all up. Fortunately, he waited until a few other classmates left the table, so it was just the three of us.
“Aren’t you even going to ask me how I got home Saturday?” Nate asked, with just the hint of a grin.
I had completely forgotten about casting him adrift, what with the events with Valerie and then the South Shore Country Club fiasco on Sunday. “Jeez, I’m really sorry…,” I began.
He put his right hand up, as if to halt my apologies. “All’s well that ends well. You saw that girl I was dancing with?”
“Yeah, the nice-looking blond from the Lab School, the one with the tits. What was she doing dancing with you?”
Nate ignored my dig. “Dancing wasn’t all we did,” he proclaimed, victoriously, the grin now wider. “Turns out she had a car there, and she offered me a ride home. But first we stopped at the museum parking lot, to see the sub.…I never realized how fast those Lab School girls are. I thought they were just a bunch of stuck up UC intellectuals. Carolyn couldn’t get enough.”
Nate paused for effect, looking at Lee, who was listening intently, and then at me. He was clearly relishing the moment. “And guess whose car we saw in the museum parking lot?”
I could feel my face burning as I blushed. Nate wasn’t going to let it go.
“It sure didn’t look like you and Valerie were discussing the Kennedy administration’s new policy toward Latin America.”
He glanced at Lee. “Those two were all over each other. I mean, all over.”
I tried to challenge Nate. “If you were so busy, how could you tell what we were doing?”
“We were parked right in back of you,” he replied. “Carolyn kept wondering why I was looking over my shoulder, when she had her blouse half unbuttoned.”
“Don’t worry,” Nate added. “I didn’t tell her what was going on. I figured you would want as few people as possible to know what you two are up to.”
I nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.”
“I mean, I don’t think you want word getting to Booker and his friends that you are riding around Hyde Park and Woodlawn, and making out with Valerie. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t go over real well.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David E. Gumpert grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in South Shore and Hyde Park. In the years since graduating from the University of Chicago, he has attended Columbia Journalism School and worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and an editor for the Harvard Business Review and Inc. magazine. He has also authored ten nonfiction books on a variety of subjects—from entrepreneurship and small business management to food politics. His most prominent titles include How to Really Create a Successful Business Plan (from Inc. Publishing); How to Really Start Your Own Business (Inc. Publishing); Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights (Chelsea Green Publishing), and The Raw Milk Answer Book (Lauson Publishing).
He spent ten years in the 1990s and early 2000s researching his family’s history during the Holocaust. The result was a book co-authored with his deceased aunt Inge Belier: Inge: A Girl’s Journey Through Nazi Europe (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing).
He spent much of the last half-dozen years going back to his own roots in Chicago to research and write the historical novel, Gouster Girl. While some of it stems from his own experiences growing up in South Shore and Hyde Park, he also conducted significant additional research to complete the book in late 2019.
Author website http://www.goustergirl.com/
- $25 gift card to Garrett Popcorn,
- then a Water bottle with Chicago flag for a second winner,
- and a Mug with Chicago flag for a third winner
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