Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book of the Week


I am obsessed with this week's book. It is so well-written, so intriguing and thought-provoking that I am absolutely ready to think about it for a long, long time to come. It's called If I Grow Up, and it's written by Todd Strasser.

I've read a lot of books about inner-city life, but none that are so seemingly realistic and researched (without being stiff) as this one. I am absolutely convinced that Strasser tapped into some real concerns and issues of life in inner-city projects with this story. I might just have to teach this book. It's that good.

Like me, Strasser is a big ol' white person. I could never claim to ever know what it's like to grow up in a group of projects like the ones in his story, but I don't think that means that there is no use in me learning or thinking about those who do live there. What I love about this book is that he doesn't give any easy answers about how people who live in the midst of total poverty and the chaos of gang violence should change their lives. He doesn't place blame and he doesn't allow his characters to apologize for living a life that they were forced into. It's almost like he's reporting about the life of the main character. No judgments, no accusations. It just is.

I promise you that this is a page turner. It's a bit of a mystery as to how the story is going to end. I read a lot of books and can usually foresee what's in store for characters. Not in this book! So, if you're looking for a high-interest, reality-driven read, this could be it. Look for it on the free reading shelves at the back of the room.

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