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The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
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Open for Discussion > August Book Discussion: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

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Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Please post your comments/questions about this book below.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments oh cool I've read this one as well and I think I've written a review for it. I'll wait for everyone to start reading, but I'll say I had many issues with this one.

It's somewhat similar to another book "The Other Wes Moore" and I enjoyed that one much more (although I'm in the minority there, apparently)


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Lindor wrote: "oh cool I've read this one as well and I think I've written a review for it. I'll wait for everyone to start reading, but I'll say I had many issues with this one.

It's somewhat similar to anothe..."


Great! I am looking forward to discussing this one with you.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?


message 5: by Ingrid (new) - added it

Ingrid Mercé | 17 comments Denise wrote: "Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?"

I am reading it currently. Still discussing his mother for the most part. Im on page 36. It isn't a bad read but I know that some people had issues with this one. So Im reading to see if I feel the same. Anyone else start?


Beverly | 223 comments I read (actually listened as it was an audio book) this book about a year ago.
While the author claimed to be a "friend" - while listening to the book I got the impression that there existed a sort of "chinese wall" existed in the friendship.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments haha, Beverly's last comment summed up the HUGE issue that I had/have with this book. It really bothered me a lot.


Beverly | 223 comments Lindor wrote: "haha, Beverly's last comment summed up the HUGE issue that I had/have with this book. It really bothered me a lot."

While I noted that I was interested in reading the book - because of the setting and some conversations that I have had with others over education/college and how do you prepare someone to be successful in an environment that may not be as nurturing or as supportive to someone who is not part of the majority group.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?"

I am reading it currently. Still discussing his mother for the most part. Im on page 36. It isn't a bad read but I kno..."


What do you think of his mom so far?


message 10: by Lindor (last edited Aug 11, 2016 04:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lindor Joelle | 133 comments I was interested in reading the book for similar reasons, BUT I think I was expecting reflection/analysis that this author couldn't give due to the vastly different upbringings (in my opinion).

Every time the author tried to give an explanation for Rob's actions, I kept imagining him thinking "well, this is the only reason that I can think of that a person would possibly behave this way." And nearly every time, I kept thinking "I can think of a few other reasons someone would do what Rob did." It reminds me of the section in "Half of a Yellow Sun" where the author subtly (or not) alludes to the importance of people telling their own stories. This book was a case study for that to me.

I did enjoy his history of Newark and the surrounding nabes. It was interesting to see how Newark came to its current state and also how closely the "hood" sits to "greener pastures" in Jersey.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Jeff says that whether people were fronting was important to Rob while he was at Yale. He then implies that Rob had his own brand of fronting depending on who he was around. For example, when he had to Newark proof himself. Do you agree with Jeff?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Do you think that race was the reason why Jeff and Rob were not closer?


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Ingrid Mercé | 17 comments Denise wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?"

I am reading it currently. Still discussing his mother for the most part. Im on page 36. It isn't a bad..."


I don't know. I have issues with her trying to keep him away from his father. Like not wanting to progress in the relationship and not move in but then I do also understand her point because of his lifestyle.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments I think that race and class mixed together were the reasons they weren't closer. I think they were close to a point, I just think there was a level of understanding of one another's lives that they both could not fully "get." Their upbringings were so different and I think the author gave it his best shot in trying to understand Rob's motivations, buttttt.....

What do you guys think of Rob so far???? I really expected to close the book with a different feeling about him than I did.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "Lindor wrote: "haha, Beverly's last comment summed up the HUGE issue that I had/have with this book. It really bothered me a lot."

While I noted that I was interested in reading the book - because..."


Did you draw any conclusions from the book about this topic?


message 16: by Denise (last edited Aug 16, 2016 05:35AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Lindor wrote: "I think that race and class mixed together were the reasons they weren't closer. I think they were close to a point, I just think there was a level of understanding of one another's lives that they..."

I think that he has great potential but he seems to be heading down the wrong path. It is surprising to me some of the choices that he made because he seems so calculating. I keep hoping for things to turn out differently although I know what happens to him from the title and the book summary.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?"

I am reading it currently. Still discussing his mother for the most part. Im on page 36...."


Yeah, I think that she felt like she was protecting herself and her son. I got the feeling that she valued their relationship though. Especially when it came to him working with his dad to do homework.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
What did you think of the Burger Boyz?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Did Rob's trip to Rio make you want to pick up and go?


message 20: by Lindor (last edited Aug 16, 2016 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lindor Joelle | 133 comments Rob's traveling made me want to go pack my bags. lol Rio was also my graduation present, but he went somewhere else in the story (can't remember where) and it made me want to go..lol

The Burger Boyz storyline saddened me a lot. All of them (from what I recall) had so much potential and ambition. I think that all of them at least started college. Not sure how far along everyone else is, but how they all ended up was disheartening.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments I read a quote the other day that brought this story to mind "We're all one decision away from a different life." Totally fitting soooooo many times during this story.

I mean, what if Rob hadn't been late mailing the John's Hopkins letter out????


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Lindor wrote: "Rob's traveling made me want to go pack my bags. lol Rio was also my graduation present, but he went somewhere else in the story (can't remember where) and it made me want to go..lol

The Burger Bo..."


Yes! I wanted to hop on the next plane and go to Rio too. lol

I agree. They seemed to all have so much potential that many of them never realized. Why do you think this occurred? Was it an issue of not having the necessary financial resources?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Is it hard to read a book that you already know what is going to happen to the main character from the title?


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Ingrid Mercé | 17 comments Denise wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Ingrid wrote: "Denise wrote: "Has anyone started this one? If so, what do you think so far?"

I am reading it currently. Still discussing his mother for the most part...."


Yes. When I got to that part I could tell that she was feeling a little sifter towards him. I just got to where the cops were looking for him, so Im sure that feeling is about to fade.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments Denise wrote: "Is it hard to read a book that you already know what is going to happen to the main character from the title?"

Sometimes. I think that the author could've left a little suspense for us by not letting us know Rob's fate up front. Then again, the cover probably made many people wonder how someone with so much promise ended up like Rob did.

Did anyone else think about what was motivating Rob? I was really hoping to get more insight on the things that were eating away at him. I think that the situation with his dad really tore him apart to no end. I also think he felt a lot of loyalty to his original "crew" and "hood."

Not sure if anyone else is far enough along to answer this, but did you wonder about how Rob treated the women in his life? Some of the stories in there left me with questions


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
what do you think of the author's writing style?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Lindor wrote: "Denise wrote: "Is it hard to read a book that you already know what is going to happen to the main character from the title?"

Sometimes. I think that the author could've left a little suspense for..."


I would also add that he seems very determined to take care of his mom and trying to make her life easier.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
What was your overall impression of Rob? His drug use? His dealing drugs?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
What is your overall impression of Jeff? His ability to narrate the story?


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments I wasn't sure what to think of Rob. I think that his friend (Victor?) summed it up perfectly: I've never seen someone so smart who was so stupid.

I think I've beaten up on Jeff enough in this thread. lol Not at all right to narrate. Maybe if he hadn't kept trying to guess at Rob's motivations/inner thoughts it may have been okay.

I wasn't upset with Rob smoking since that's pretty common. I just struggled with all of the opportunities that he wasted. What really upset me was when they mentioned that the person who gave Rob the scholarship never made that gesture to another student again.

I see that you rated it a 2. How did it fall short for you?


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
Lindor wrote: "I wasn't sure what to think of Rob. I think that his friend (Victor?) summed it up perfectly: I've never seen someone so smart who was so stupid.

I think I've beaten up on Jeff enough in this thre..."


I did not like the author's writing style. At times it was very hard for me to get through the book. I also thought that some things were just thrown in the story just to squeeze them in. For example, rob's personal statement. This made certain parts seem choppy.


Denise | 1410 comments Mod
What did you think about Skeet and his situation?


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Ingrid Mercé | 17 comments Denise wrote: "What did you think about Skeet and his situation?"

I felt bad for him.


Lindor Joelle | 133 comments was Skeet his father? I read this story a while ago so just making sure. If so, I remember having mixed feelings about him. I completely believe that someone can be framed by law enforcement, and this story brought up some concerning issues about his case. I was honestly shocked that Rob was able to free him. It was a really sad case. I think that the whole experience took so much out of Rob


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Ingrid Mercé | 17 comments Lindor wrote: "was Skeet his father? I read this story a while ago so just making sure. If so, I remember having mixed feelings about him. I completely believe that someone can be framed by law enforcement, and t..."

Yeah it was his dad. It was sad. And then at the point in his life when it happened. He was very impressionable at that age.


message 36: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Alleyne | 75 comments Beverly wrote: "Lindor wrote: "haha, Beverly's last comment summed up the HUGE issue that I had/have with this book. It really bothered me a lot."

While I noted that I was interested in reading the book - because..."


I have not finished the book yet, I got as far as the beginning of his senior year of Yale, and I have to say that the author got the part of the story about the time at Yale and how Rob and other African-American kids were viewed and managed. I went to a similar university along with a host of other kids from a similar economic background and it was very difficult to survive. We ended up segregating ourselves and while we all graduated, we were never exposed to the larger student body and what was happening in the university as a whole which hurt us in the future but it was our only way to make it.


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