Patches of Grey

Fiction - Drama
371 Pages
Reviewed on 06/11/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Patches of Grey is the story of Tony Johnson an African American growing up in the projects.  Life around him involves violence, drugs, and poverty.  He knows there is a better life out there and he is determined to reach for it.  A scholarship is his rope to freedom.  Then he meets a white girl and racial tensions begin to rise.  This is not your typical story.  Roy I. Pickering, Jr. takes a complicated and over done story and makes it original.  

The older I get the more grey I see.  When I was younger I saw things as black and white.  Pickering successfully shows the shades of grey in our culture.  Grey areas are compromises.  While Tony is the focus of this drama, Pickering show the dynamics of each family member.  There is a lot of bitterness and hatred in some of the characters.  I believe we will be seeing more from this author.

Roy Pickering

Thanks for the kind words, Debra. I'd also like to add for interested readers that Patches of Grey can be purchased at The link to it is:

Beth Blake

Patches of Grey follows the difficulties of the Johnson family as they struggle to find answers in life. The mother Caren is an optimistic woman, "There are no struggles too difficult for God's love to guide us through." Her husband, Lionel, is embittered and can't find a job to support his family, "He chooses to complain about what hasn't been handed to him." Their 15 year old son CJ lives for his gang, then tries to escape. Their daughter is confused and feels pressure from her boyfriend.
But the story centers around their son Tony. Tony is intelligent with a bright future. He is college bound. He falls in love with a caucasian girl, Janet, whose parents are racists with ridiculous stereotpical ideas of African-Americans. The story revolves around their relationship and the problems they experience as an inter-racial couple.
Pickering's descriptions and metaphors are vivid. "Wide spreading ripples can reach calm waters far removed from where a stone has been tossed."
Pickering asks the question, "When searching for your worth on this planet, is it love or is it power that will accomplish this for you?"
The language is often gritty and not for the faint-hearted.