A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League Paperback – May 4 1999
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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
I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Cedric. Coming from middle-class white suburbia, but not far from Detroit, I was familiar of the struggle for inner-city kids to strive, but not with their perceptions of it. This book opened up my eyes to some realities and feelings, I never had thought about before. For instance, how it's not only very difficult to get a good education or good grades in the inner city, but how you're ostracized by your peers for trying.
This is a story of how Cedric ignored the taunting of fellow students, how he earned a chance at the Ivy league and then we learn the struggle doesn't stop there. For a boy who was salutatorian at his high school, his education level is still far below most of those in the Ivy leagues. The story is about his efforts to make the grade, fit in at school and become comfortable in his own skin. Just reading about his obstacles made me tired for him!
I enjoyed the book, especially how we did get to see the world by more than just Cedric's eyes, but also by his mothers, his fathers and friends. I think this gave the story a pick-me-up when otherwise it would have gotten boring. To anyone who is interested in this topic, I'd recommend this book.
A few other reviewers have mentioned that Cedric's story is not particulary exceptional. This belief arises from the still quite controversial issue of affirmative action-like practices that effect acceptance to several colleges and universities around the country. Cedric has stellar high school grades and extra-curricular activies, but this would normally not be enough to grant acceptance into an Ivy League school for a white student with the same qualifications. The main issue addressed is that Cedric's SAT score of only about 960 would immediately disqualify him from Brown if he were white.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this issue. Truthfully, this topic disturbed me when I applied to college. I knew several students that had worse GPAs and SAT/ACT scores than I, but still got into better schools. Most people didn't mention it much, but most people believed that the only reason why they got accepted was because they were black.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book was so out of my experience as a middle aged white female brought up in the middle class suburbs of a large city who became a college professor, but the human experience... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ellen Arnestad
A great book! I read it cover to cover in a day, it was compelling. You feel like you're part of Cedric's story.Published on May 24 2004
Get ready for an all nighter...this book is extremely captivating! As you've probably read through the editorial reviews, it is the story of an African American young man in his... Read morePublished on March 8 2004
Save your money, but more importantly SAVE YOUR TIME!
I would have rather gone to the doctor for a proctology exam! Read more
This truly is terrible journalism. For one, Ron Suskind never even alludes to the fact that he was following Cedric around through all these experiences and sitting in the corner... Read morePublished on July 17 2003 by Mikey Likey
This book is about a young man named Cedric Jenings, who was striving for success. The book is non-fiction. Read morePublished on March 17 2003
This book is well deserving of its Pulitzer Prize. The story is compelling, having you on the edge of your seat rooting for Cedric to 'make-it' in the world. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2003 by Jeremy D. Penn
I have just finished this book for work, where we were considering it for a text to use with all people (students, faculty, and staff) in our college community. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Martha E. Nelson
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