The Real Education of TJ Crowley: Coming of Age on the Redline: An Audio Drama

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2024
9 hours 12 minutes
Set in 1968 after the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this immersive audio dramatization, inspired by the author’s own experiences, features an award-winning cast of 15 actors, in a fast-paced, suspenseful coming-of-age story.

With his father’s mysterious disappearance and his brother Ronnie enlisting in the Vietnam War, 13-year-old TJ Crowley is left alone with his racist, unstable mother, Kate. The newly enforced Fair Housing Act results in the unthinkable for the Crowleys when a Black family, headed by the eminent Dr. Washington, crosses the racial red line and moves in next door. Kate is quick to warn TJ that their new neighbors are strictly off-limits and makes a panicked call to beg Ray, her old flame, to travel to their home in Wichita Kansas to help deal with “the problem next door.”

At his now integrated junior high, TJ resents that teachers tell him he must get to know his Black classmates, yet he understands that staying out of trouble can only help assure him an all-important spot on the basketball team. At school, a violent confrontation with Leon, the tough new kid in 7th grade, lands them in the principal’s office. And at home, Ray ropes him into building a fence that will send the Washingtons a message that they’re not welcome.

But the fence can’t quiet the sounds of unfamiliar music floating over the fence nor hide the strength and beauty of his new classmate, Ivy Washington, who fiercely stands up for what she believes in.

Over time, TJ begins to question the lessons he’s learned at home and decides to accept Dr. Washington’s invitation to visit their family. Devastated when his poor grades and bad behavior keep him from the basketball team, TJ turns to the doctor, a former athlete, who coaches him for the track team, teaching him how to throw the shot put.

When TJ’s secret visits to the Washingtons are discovered, and a series of escalating hate crimes point to Ray, TJ is forced to make a defining choice that will forever change his life.

Performed by Dani Martineck, Dion Graham, Tavia Gilbert, Johnny Heller, Shayna Small, Michael Crouch, Kirby Heyborne, Ari Fliakos, Graham Halstead, Thérèse Plummer, Brittany Pressley, Peter Berkrot, John Wright and Sheila Brown Kinnard, playing the role inspired by her mother, Josephine Brown.

Grant Overstake, a storyteller and educator, draws from his background as a former Miami Herald sports writer and decathlon All-American to write authentic sports themed novels of raw emotion. Grant and his wife, Claire, sing in the multicultural ARISE Ensemble, who’s music is featured in this program.

An award-winning producer and director with over 400 titles to her credit, May Wuthrich is a former actor with a background in traditional book publishing and book-to-screen script development.

Presented by Grain Valley Publishing
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