- Paperback: 390 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 4, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0767901266
- ISBN-13: 978-0767901260
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League Reprint Edition
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Ron Suskind won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1995 for his stories on Cedric Jennings, a talented black teenager struggling to succeed in one of the worst public high schools in Washington, D.C. Suskind has expanded those features into a full-length nonfiction narrative, following Jennings beyond his high-school graduation to Brown University, and in the tradition of Leon Dash's Rosa Lee and Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here, delivers a compelling story on the struggles of inner-city life in modern America. While it appears to have a happy ending (with Jennings earning a B average in his sophomore year), A Hope in the Unseen is not without a few caveats (at times, Jennings feels profoundly alienated from his white peers). Trite as it may sound to say, this book teaches a lesson about the virtue of perseverance, and it's definitely worth reading. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA-Cedric Jennings is the illegitimate son of an off-and-on drug dealer/ex-con and a hardworking, badly paid mother; it is her single-minded vision to have the boy escape the mean ghetto streets unscathed. Cedric has listened to her and is, as the book opens, an A student at a run-down, dispirited Washington, DC, high school, where he treads a thin line between being tagged a nerd and being beaten by gang leaders. Suskind, a Wall Street Journal reporter, follows the African-American youth through his last two years of high school and freshman year at Brown University. Inspirational sermons at a Pentecostal church, guidance from his mother, a love of black music and singing, and a refuge in the logic of math combine with the young man's determination and faith in the future to keep him focused on his goal of a topflight college education. Despite many low moments and setbacks, Jennings's story is one of triumph within both cultures, black and white, which together and separately put tremendous obstacles in his path out of the inner city. It is a privilege and an inspiration for readers to accompany Cedric on part of his long, difficult journey to maturity. His journey continues at this moment, since he is now a senior at Brown this fall. YAs of any background will be introduced to new worlds here.
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
It is difficult to call this book "inspirational," as some have done. As Suskind points out, he chose to profile Cedric Jennings precisely because "the basic appeal of Cedric's story was never rooted in his exceptionalism . . .he is, in his basic makeup, so very much like countless other young people . . .". And Suskind does not spare the institutions that fail students like Cedric every day: the bleak public school where learning is almost impossible, the "sink-or-swim approach for poorly prepared minority students at places like Brown. Throughout the book, Suskind explores both the positive and negative aspects of affirmative action, letting the details of Cedric's experience make a case for it. This book is one family's experience. It does not--it cannot--encompass the experience of every inner city child who hopes for the unseen. But it does offer powerful testimony not just for broad prescriptions or programs, but for the incremental powers of love and determination. Recently on NPR, I heard a review of "A Hope in the Unseen" as one of those books not to be missed. The reviewer was right.
"I shall arise from the ashes, though defeated, with my head unbowed"
Readability Factor - below average
Uplifting Factor - average
Overall Story -- pretty good