Deborah Hicks is a teacher in one of the poorest sections of the country (a neighborhood in Cincinnati). She formed a loose sort of book club with some of her students and believes that books have the chance to improve lives. (I am oversimplifying things.)
I first heard about this book on one of Stephen King’s best of lists at the end of the year and knew that I’d want to read this. I also believe that books can save people, and love nonfiction books about books.
As a sociology minor, I believe wholeheartedly that people can be considered victims of their circumstances. I don’t think that the girls featured in this book would want pity, and I certainly don’t pity them because I think they’re amazing people (especially Blair, who also loves Stephen King, but all of the girls are these tough-yet-sweet girls who I wish I could meet). But I think that they faced a lot of obstacles that I didn’t have to, and I think that they would’ve definitely had an easier time of it if they had had more resources growing up. Can you overcome those obstacles? Of course. But it takes a lot more work to go to college if you go to a public school that’s very underfunded and live in a neighborhood that has a huge drug problem.
This book also made me think of this group that my friend Bekki is involved in, Reading For Life. They take a group of juvenile offenders and everyone reads the same book and then discusses it. So far, almost everyone involved has turned their life around and I think that’s an amazing, inspiring thing. (This is not a perfect comparison, as the girls in this book are much younger when we meet them initially, although by the end of the book, they’re grownups.)
Highly recommended—but be prepared to fall in love with these girls.