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June 04, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

PARALLEL TIME: Growing Up in Black and White by Brent Staples (Avon: $11; 274 pp.). New York Times writer Brent Staples offers an African-American perspective on growing up during the Baby-Boom era. His family moved from house to house, one step ahead of the landlord, until his father collapsed into alcoholism. Recalling his alienated and lonely childhood, Staples writes, "As a child I was never where I was. Part of me raced ahead looking for a foothold in the future. Part of me was somewhere behind rushing to catch up." The future he anticipated proved both unexpectedly rewarding and grim: Advanced academic programs enabled Staples to find himself as a person and a writer, but that success is balanced against the pain of having to identify his brother's body in a police morgue after a drug-related shooting.

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