readers advisory for all discussion

so ask already!!! > Rags to Riches

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kinga (new)

Kinga | 19 comments My title is slightly misleading.
I have just read a non fiction book A Hope In the Unseen by Ron Suskind.
Basically I want to read something like that again.

It was a story about a black boy from the inner city who studied hard and made it to an Ivy League university.

However, this is not a chicken soup for white liberal soul kind of book. It is quite painful and the social and psychological analysis is top notch.
So I want something like that, please.

Something about overcoming the circumstances and succeeding academically but with a profound insight.
Ideally, non fiction but fiction would do.

Many thanks!!! :)

message 2: by Kathrina (new)

Kathrina | 50 comments I haven't read A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League yet, but I have it on my bookshelf. A comparable book might be The Pursuit of Happyness, which is quite an inspiring read, if you can get over that annoying yet intentional misspelling. Several truly great biographies with perhaps a bit more historical impact, come to mind, including Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery, which is kind of the epitome of using education to succeed out of poverty. It's also quite inspiring reading, and much more accessible than history books would lead you to believe. Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance was also an excellent memoir of both Barack and his father's drive for academic success against the odds, and you'll be pleased to discover our President has such an ease with language and personal history.
I really enjoyed The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, about a teenage boy in Malawi who brought electricity into his family's tiny village hut using a windmill he learned to build from a single engineering textbook (English language) he found in his village school's one-shelf library. Talk about beating the odds. His initiative and genius are finally discovered and rewarded with further educational opportunities, but he first suffers years of devastating poverty and severely limited opportunities. The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village also displays the same kind of struggle and initiative in a young man from Uganda.
Finally, for an in-depth study of a man who's life story pretty much embodies the story of the American South in the early 20th century, try All Gods Dangers V02. Published in 1974, this is the recorded narrative of Ned Cobb, an illiterate sharecropper with an astonishing memory and a passionate intellect, able to recall the events of his own life within the context of history as a whole. Though he did not achieve economic or academic success, Cobb's story rings with triumph in his love for family, honest work, nature and the land, and a persistent faith in hope. Also, it won the National Book Award in 1975.
Wow, I guess I didn't mean to write so much, but as soon as I started I kept thinking of more stuff...Hope this helps.

message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) I think you might also want to look at The Pact. It tends to be not as graphic as an adult could be, as it is designed more for high school students. It is about three inner city boys who go on and enter medical school.

message 4: by Deb (new)

Deb (debs913) You might like
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksby Rebecca Skloot

message 5: by carriedaway (new)

carriedaway | 25 comments You might like Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattilo Beals. As the title says, she tells her story as one of the first nine black students to integrate a public school in Arkansas in 1957. I couldn't quite read all of it, it was either infuriating me or making me cry.
Warriors Don't Cry

message 6: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) A Place for Us: A Greek Immigrant Boy's Odyssey to a New Country and an Unknown Father is a good one about a Greek boy in America learning English in a class of special needs kids and becoming an investigative journalist to find out what happened to his mother in the Greek civil war.

message 7: by Kinga (new)

Kinga | 19 comments Thank you all for recommendations!! All added to my never ending to-read list!

message 8: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley (meredithholley) | 194 comments I'm a fan of Coming of Age in Mississippi, which is a memoir written by one of the girls who participated in the Woolworth's sit-ins.

message 9: by Flannery, html whiz (new)

Flannery (flannabanana) | 63 comments Mod
^^I love that book, too, Meredith. Definitely a good rec.

message 10: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1315 comments Mod
did any of these end up working for you?

back to top