Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Treasure of Lemon Brown by Walter Dean Myers Review

The Treasure of Lemon Brown is a short story written by an American writer Walter Dean Myers. It took place in Harlem (New York-city, USA). This is an urban place where mostly (or completely) African-Americans live.

The main character is Greg, a 14-year-old boy. Greg was disappointed after talking to his father. His father reproached him for lack of efforts in studying Math. Father compared the life of his son with his own experience during his childhood, he had to quit school because he needed to care about gaining some money for his family.

The father said that if Greg didn’t catch up with his classmates in Math, he would be not able to play basketball for the school’s team - the Scorpions. Greg was very upset by this restriction, he didn’t want to accept it. The weather was set according to his feelings:

The dark sky, filled with angry, swirling clouds, reflected Greg Ridley’s mood as he sat on the stoop of his building. His father’s voice came to him again, first reading the letter the principal had sent to the house, then lecturing endlessly about his poor efforts in math.
Greg went out of his home and crossed the street. He stayed in front of an abandoned house. He got away from the rain to that house. Soon he discovered that he is not alone in the house. Suddenly he heard a man’s voice behind him:

Don’t try nothin’ ‘cause I got a razor sharp enough to cut a week into nine days!

Greg was very afraid, he asked: “Who are you?” Greg hardly recognized his own voice. “I’m Lemon Brown,” came the answer”.

The man was old, it didn’t seem that he was dangerous. He said that he had hoped Greg came not for the purpose to grab his treasure. Greg asked if it was a real treasure. Lemon Brown answered that every man has a treasure.

As the old man explained, the name Lemon Brown or Sweet Lemon was his nickname when he was a blues singer. He was very famous in the past and he told about those times.

During their conversation they heard a noise around the house, somebody wanted to enter the house.

They’s bad men,” Lemon Brown whispered….
“We heard you talking about your treasure.” The voice was slurred.

Greg and Lemon Brown stayed in the dark, trying not to be noticed.
When it became clear that they couldn’t go unnoticed anymore, Lemon Brown came out of their hideout. For the question “You OK?” he answered “Few bumps and bruises”.

When Greg asked the old man if he really had a treasure, Lemon Brown showed the old newspapers with pictures and some descriptions of Lemon Brown’s play.

He started telling the story of his life. He had a wife and a son. His wife died, the son grew up with his mama’s sister. When the war started his son went off to join. The old man said: 

I didn’t have nothing to give him except these things that told him who I was, and what he come from.


After a while, Mr.Brown knew that his son was killed during the war. He said:

They sent back what he had with him over there, and what it was is this old mouth fiddle and these clippings. Him carrying it around with him like that told me it meant something to him. That was my treasure, and when I give it to him he treated it just like that, a treasure. Ain’t that something?

The events which happened before changed Greg dramatically. It was expressed in the last lines:

The night had warmed and the rain had stopped ... He thought ahead of what his father would say and wondered if he should tell him about Lemon Brown... Greg thought of the lecture he knew his father would give him, and smiled.