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On the Outside Looking in: Stories from an Inner City High School Hardcover – February, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This poignant account of teenagers attending a last-chance high school is a depressing confirmation of the entrenched isolation of poverty. Rathbone, a freelance journalist living in New York City, spent a year hanging out with students, mostly Hispanic and African American, assigned by the educational bureaucracy to classrooms fashioned out of abandoned office space in midtown Manhattan. The 750-plus students came from all over the city; their parents were often jobless drug addicts and alcoholics. The author recounts the day-to-day experiences of youngsters that drove them to become gang members and street hustlers. Rathbone becomes profoundly depressed, as does the reader, as she tries to befriend and help these troubled kids. Offering no solutions of her own, she takes solace from the fact that 85 of the kids obtained a diploma. The role of the teachers in this achievement is largely omitted here, although Rathbone spent a lot of time attending student discussion sessions run by the school principal, Ed Reynolds, himself a tragic figure who refuses to be beaten down by the system. 25,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Curious about the lives of inner-city teenagers, journalist Rathbone, who has written for the New York Daily News and the Miami Herald, decided to spend the 1994-95 school year as an observer in New York's West Side High School, composed largely of students that even the worst schools had rejected. Throughout the school year, Rathbone spent time in Principal Ed Reynolds's "Family Group," a sort of daily homeroom/discussion period at the school. Ed's group contained some of the worst students. Rathbone could relate to a number of the kids, having grown up in an at-risk situation herself, but the lives of many others at West Side often overwhelmed her. Rathbone's book is about more than education. Along with detailing the daily lives of the students, she provides history and information about New York City neighborhoods?the gangs, drugs, depression?as well as insight into a world many readers would like to believe doesn't exist. Recommended for most libraries, especially those with an emphasis on education.?Terry Christner, Hutchinson P.L., Kan.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr; 1st edition (February 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871137070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871137074
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,620,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
could not get engaged with the style and the story. A worthy story for sure but not told here in a way that held my interest.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Katha Pollitt on April 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Cristina Rathbone is an exceptional writer and person -- her book tells us more about poverty, schools, teachers , kids and the educational system than a truckload of statistics and white papers. EVERYONE involved in the schools should read this book! Shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book prize for Nonfiction of current Interest.
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