1936, Flint, Michigan.
Bud, not Buddy, has been at the Home (orphanage) for about 4 years, ever since his mother died. He has never known his father but in his suitcase that contains all his belongings there are fliers for Herman E. Calloway & the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. When he is sent to a new foster home where the abuse starts immediately, he runs away and comes to the conclusion that Herman E. Calloway must be his father so he will find him. Bud ends up in a Hooverville at one point and then gets lucky when Lefty Lewis picks him up on his way to Flint. Lefty knows Herman and gets Bud there in a much easier way than it would have been for him to walk. Herman is not at all the person Bud was imagining but life has more unexpected surprises in store for the young man.
I read this as part of a literature unit with my 5th grader having never read it before. I found the story engaging and touching and my son read ahead constantly. While the story itself is not a true story, many of the scenes and people were based on people in the author's life and the stories he heard growing up and this helps give it a ring of truth.
Page count: 243p ytd/1,220p/276,695p lifetime