Wednesday, April 11, 2007

[Book Review] A HOPE IN THE UNSEEN by Ron Suskind

Nonfiction/African-American Subjects Memoir

Sarah Frierson reviews A HOPE IN THE UNSEEN: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind (Broadway Books, 1998)

Cedric Jennings was a student at Ballou, one of Washington D.C.'s roughest inner-city schools, where kids rarely graduated and crime was rampant. A bright young man, he never fit in to such an environment; he stuck with what he knew--his faith, his mother, math, music--and he placed his sights beyond Ballou. He set the impressive goal of getting to the Ivy League.

Cedric did accomplish his goal, getting accepted to Brown University, but he soon found that he still faced many of the same issues--loneliness, feeling out-of-place, insecurity, etc. And, he was no longer the brightest student in the classroom.

Ron Suskind, winner of a Pulitzer for his articles about Cedric in the Wall Street Journal, followed the young man for almost four years to capture this journey. What results is a very honest account of life at the bottom, the hope for the future and the realities of accomplishing mighty goals. Most importantly, Cedric's story shows that the most important step is to become comfortable in one's own skin.

Suskind does not present a glossed-over account of any person (or institution, for that matter). Instead, he offers insight, based on hundreds of interviews, into the motivations and emotions that guide each of the people in the story. Readers from varying racial, economic and social perspectives are offered this insight to gain a better understanding of the barriers our youth often face as they try to reach their goals.

Sarah Frierson, Business and Science Department

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Hmm, interesting . . . I haven't heard about this one. Sounds like something I just might be able to convince my husband to read (smile). Thanks for the info.
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