Thursday, February 27, 2020

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: Gouster Girl by David E. Gumpert

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Gouster Girl by David E. Gumpert. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt for you as well as the tour wide giveaway to win a gift card and swag. Check out the other stops on the tour for more  exclusive excerpts and reviews. Enjoy!
Title: Gouster Girl
Author: David E. Gumpert
Publisher: Lauson Publishing Co.
Publication Date: December 9th 2019
Print Length: 318 pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
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.

It wasn’t until that week’s Wednesday class, when Mr. White seemed a changed man. Normally dressed in a wrinkled gray suit, with his expanding belly overhanging belted slacks, this day his suit looked pressed and seemed to fit him better. His eyes sparkled and the front of his balding head nearly glistened.

“Someone asked me after the last class about my own history, where I was born and how I wound up in Chicago. So I want to tell you about it, since it relates to the new material we’ll be studying, about the Civil Rights Movement,” he began.

“I was born in Alabama. I knew I wanted to leave Alabama from the time I was about eight months old.” He paused for effect and many snickered at his not-so-subtle humor. “The Chicago Defender newspaper used to send the paper around the South. We’d read about life in Chicago’s Negro community, and we realized it had to be better than the lives we were leading.”

He paused again, taking in the rapt class of Negro and white students. “We arrived in Chicago in August of 1919, about a month after Chicago’s race riot. That riot started when a South Side Negro boy was swimming, and by accident wound up near a white beach. He was beaten so badly he died.”

I gulped to myself, wondering if that might have happened at Rainbow Beach. It probably didn’t, but it certainly could have.

“But even with all of that, my parents felt safer on the South Side of Chicago than they ever felt in Alabama. We had everything in the Bronzeville area, a kind of parallel society. We had our own movie theaters and food stores and banks and tailors and movers. So our money stayed in the community.

“My father worked in the steel mills south of Chicago,” Mr. White continued. “He made good money there, enough to provide for his family.”

“So what was the problem?” one of the Ivy Leaguer students interrupted.

“The problem was we couldn’t live where we wanted,” Mr. White replied.

Another Ivy Leaguer interrupted: “You ever think that things here are as bad as they are in the South? We can’t get jobs here. We can’t live in other neighborhoods. We can’t go to the beaches we want. The police are mostly white, and they treat us like we are all criminals.”

Mr. White wasn’t about to equate Chicago with the South. “People sometimes ask me if I ever go back to the South to visit relatives. I tell them the only way I go back to the South is when a relative dies and I go to the funeral. And then, I get out of there as fast as I can.”

He paused again, and looked past us, as if he was looking out a window. “Except I was down South this past weekend. I had been hearing about this preacher, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and I liked what he was saying about equality and nonviolence. So this past weekend, I went down to Montgomery. I had the honor of meeting him and helping in the marches he has been organizing there.”

Wow! So Mr. White must have been down there during the speech I heard Dr. King give over the radio in the Medici. That really brought the whole thing home.

The bell ending the class rang just then, and I realized the time had flown by.
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.

David E. Gumpert will be awarding a $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, all randomly drawn via Rafflecopter after the tour, To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
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