Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Excerpt Tour + #Giveaway: Gouster Girl by David E. Gumpert @davidgumpert @GoddessFish

Gouster Girl
by David E. Gumpert
GENRE: YA, Young Adult


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.


I was smitten. I started fantasizing about being with her, holding her and kissing her. I tried to catch myself, and tell myself how unrealistic I was being.

Whites and Negroes just didn’t date much. It was as if whites and Negroes had enough trouble just getting along day to day that we didn’t want to inject sex and emotional attachment into the whole equation. So white guys generally avoided Negro girls, even if they were cute and pretty and intelligent, and bronze skinned, like Valerie, and the Negro girls did the same with white guys, regardless of whether they were popular and handsome or, like me, studious and nerdy. Negro boys with white girls seemed even more remote. The only example of interracial dating I knew of, and it wasn’t a good one, was when Nate got it into his head to ask Yoshana Bradley for a date. Lee and I were shocked.

Yoshana looked like a model—slender, sharp nose, high forehead, and nearly straight shoulder-length hair—who held herself erect and tall and dressed in obviously expensive dresses and blouses. She was in our French class, and while all the boys, white or Negro, couldn’t help but drool over her, she seemed aloof. Word had it that she was dating a Negro boy from another school.

Nate was brave enough to not only pursue Yoshana, but also to tell Lee and me about the unfortunate outcome. She said she was really busy for the next couple months doing modeling, and couldn’t go out.

I just wanted to get to the point where I could even think about asking Valerie for a date. And then, amazingly, at the start of second semester that January, I found myself in the same geometry class with her.

One problem with holding Booker in a headlock was that his kinky hair felt like Brillo rubbing against my left elbow cradle and the inside of my upper arm. I wished I hadn’t decided to wear a short-sleeved shirt that spring day. Plus, my legs were trembling, no doubt from my fear.

My biggest problem, though, was that the sight of me gaining an advantage on Booker wasn’t bringing the crowd, the thirty or so mostly Negroes who had quickly gathered around the two of us, to my side. Instead, it was prompting all kinds of taunting, mostly of Booker by his friends. “Lookie Booka, gettin’ his ass kicked by a honky. Shee-it.”

Holding Booker in a headlock on the first floor landing, with the crowd rooting against me, was worsening my budding queasy feeling. It was panic, coursing through my body over the inevitable outcome if I continued with my advantage over Booker. One of his friends could give me a shove or a punch. Or something worse. It quickly became clear as day there was no way I’d be allowed to walk out of this melee the “winner.”

I suspect it was those “winner” fantasies that caused me to lose my concentration just long enough for Booker to push me backwards and lose my balance so he could break free. Suddenly we faced each other, standing crouched, arms nearly in boxing poses, trying to figure out what to do next.

His answer came first, as he almost nonchalantly put his right hand into the pocket of his baggy gray pants, and pulled out something light-colored and shiny. He was holding a curved off-white piece of what looked like ivory at the front of his large brown fist. A push-button knife.

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.



$25 gift card to Garrett Popcorn

Water bottle with Chicago flag 

Mug with Chicago flag 

One winner for each prize with a total of three winners. 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - thanks for sharing!

davidgumpert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
davidgumpert said...

Thanks to Avid Reader for posting this excerpt. I'll look forward to comments and questions.
Also, Gouster Girl is available via NetGalley, to those of you who are signed up.

Stephanie said...

Great excerpt, I look forward to reading this book.

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