Neighborhood Lines

by Michael Patrick Murphy

Neighborhood Lines

A story of a Boston friendship that broke cultural boundaries.

In the heart of Boston in the 1980’s—a city engulfed in turmoil and racial tensions, an unlikely friendship develops between two students at Cathedral High School. Patrick is an Irish-Catholic born leader. His friends follow him with blind allegiance. Nate is a young, disciplined, black athlete—focused on finding his way out of the neighborhood alive. The two young men find themselves on hectic school grounds, in a culture that shuns friendships like theirs.

Through a tragic turn of events, we see stereotypical statuses turned upside down. The contrasting characters display the power of individual choice and response to life’s circumstances. Though the corruption and racism of Patrick and Nate’s Boston culture posed an equal threat to both, their respective choices to pick themselves up, find their resolve, and get past their environment, caused them to rise above it all.

This is the story of a Boston friendship that crossed neighborhood lines, broke cultural boundaries, and propelled two adolescents to rethink the world around them.

May we all be impacted by the education this eye-opening read has to offer.

Play Video
“This book should be on every secondary school’s curriculum. A very true to life story about race, gangs and drugs. Most people would do well to read this book as it’s a real eye opener. The author really brings the characters to life. Even better would be to see it made into a film.”
Ellie Nash
Reader

Gallery

Whitey Buger and his Irish Mob’s bar on West Broadway—aka “The Bucket of Blood”
Courtesy of the University Archives & Special Collections Department, Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston: Mosaic records.
Courtesy of the University Archives & Special Collections Department, Joseph P. Healey Library, University of Massachusetts Boston: Mosaic records.
The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
Copyright © Stanleyformanphotos.com, The Soiling of Old Glory , Pulitzer Prize 1977
Boston Police officers flip a police cruiser back over after it was overturned by a crowd during a disturbance at South Boston High School on Dec. 11, 1974. A clash between the police and a crowd of 1500 people outside the school after a student was stabbed inside led to the closing of seven public schools in South Boston and Roxbury for the remainder of the week.
Mayor Ray Flynn and Senator Billy Bulger
Patrick always held his favorite picture of him and his father closely in his nightstand drawer. Jimmy Leblanc training a young boxer -- never too young.
1988 WGBH News Report on Discrimination Lawsuit against Boston Housing Authority regarding integration of Housing projects.

Redeem the Lines

A sequel to Michael Patrick Murphy’s first novel, Neighborhood Lines, Redeem the Lines finds Nate and Patrick out in the real world where they ultimately cross paths and reunite in the late 1990’s Boston landscape.