BROKE: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises by Jodie Adams Kirschner

Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises

The author has taken a hard look at the state of affairs in Detroit. Through the voices of seven people whose lives have been changed forever by the mismanagement of the city and its eventual bankruptcy.

I visited Detroit regularly during the late ’80s and through the ’90s. It was a huge, sprawling place and going downtown was heartbreaking. To see block after block of neglected and abandoned homes and businesses.

There is enough blame to go around in this look at how cities are not getting the support they need to provide the services people need to survive and thrive. Everything is broken. The real estate market, the banks, the inept leadership, the lack of state and federal support.

About 40 percent of the city lives below the poverty level. Where is the investment in creating new jobs? How do these opportunists get by with paying $1000 for a foreclosed home and turning around and charging 3 times that in rent? The entire thing is falling apart and who is going to bail them out?

Detroit isn’t the only city in trouble. We just rarely hear anything about the others. The research in this book is very well done!

I appreciate the author bringing this into the light. And I hope people read this and stand up and do the right thing by their fellow human beings.

Highly Recommended Reading!

NetGalley/  November 19th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

 

The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore

The Undertaker's Assistant

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” 

Effie Jones, once a slave, escaped a place she can not even remember as a child.
Found outside of a Union camp and taken in as a ward for an army surgeon. The Captain and his wife taught her to read and write, also how to forget her past and how to embalm bodies.

Effie’s feelings are buried so deep she appears cold and unfeeling. Leaving Indiana and returning to the last place she remembers, New Orleans, she quickly finds employment in the Re-Construction Era, 11 years after the Civil War, with an undertaker who needs her. He is a tortured drunk and Effie does all the work.

Effie maintains a distance from the other ladies at the boarding house. Not interested in anything but work and saving money. A chance meeting with a creole young lady has her learning to be comfortable with society and going to political meetings.

Things around the South are very volatile between the races and not a lot has changed for the better. After a confrontation, Effie begins to have flashes of painful memories of a holding pen and other slaves. She decides to find out who she is and where she came from.

This was a hard book to read. Not a part of our past I am proud of but these stories need to be told. I can’t imagine not knowing something as basic as your own last name. The trials and heartbreak Effie went through only made her stronger.

An exceptionally well-told tale!

NetGalley/July 30th, 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

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Tomorrow’s Bread by ANNA JEAN MAYHEW

Tomorrow's Bread

From the author of the acclaimed, The Dry Grass of August comes a richly researched yet lyrical Southern-set novel that explores the conflicts of gentrification—a moving story of loss, love, and resilience.

It’s 1961 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The neighborhood of Brooklyn is almost entirely made up of black families and businesses. While there are a lot of run down and shabby homes and storefronts, Loraylee Hawkins lives in a nice home with her grandmother, her uncle and her son, Hawk. She works a full-time job and cares for her grandmother and her son.

Loarylee works at a cafeteria and is involved with her boss. A white man. All very secret, after all this is the South in the early ’60s.

The city of Charlotte has declared Brooklyn a blight on the city and has decided to do some gentrification. Which we all know means bulldozing every house and business and putting in buildings no one can afford. This is their home. They were born here and many died here. But now even the graveyard is being removed in the name of progress.

This is a very familiar story for those of us raised in the deep south. The strength of the characters of this cast was extraordinary. This was a community that supported each other, a family that stood their ground and fought for a better life and for respect.

I am so glad I read this one and I highly recommend it!

Kensington Publishers

 

 

 

 

SUMMERTIME AND THE READING IS EASY!

Summer is in full swing here. Lots of sun, sand, and water. And of course, a good book!

Some of my favorite reads this summer have been:

31 of the Best Books of 2018 Oh, what a twisty puzzle this thriller was!

  Mean Girls meets the PTA

  This is an outstanding novel about freedom, racism, and family.

   Another one that tugged at my heartstrings and made me cry!

What is everyone looking forward to reading? At the moment I am reading Campusland by Scott Johnson.

Have a good one! We are under a severe heat warning. I’ll be in the pool!

xx P

THE SISTERS by ROSALIND NOONAN

The Sisters

This was an emotional read from the beginning. My heart broke for Glory. Even though I felt she had other choices.

What made this even more heartbreaking is this is still happening today. There are quite a few sensitive subjects in this book but that’s life. The author has written a beautiful and deeply moving account of what family is.

I enjoyed the different points of view and I look forward to reading more from Noonan.

Well Done!’

Netgalley/ November 27th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

RISING OUT OF HATRED THE AWAKENING IF A FORMER WHITE NATIONALIST BY ELI SASLOW

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

Eli Saslow is an author and a staff writer for The Washington Post, where he travels the country to write in-depth stories about the impact of major national issues on individual lives. He won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a series of stories about the rise of food stamps and hunger in the United States. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing in 2013, 2016 and 2017. 

I had read some of Saslow’s interviews on this before. This is more in-depth and while it made me uncomfortable I was curious.

How does the heir apparent to the KKK, Derek Black, godson of David Duke and son of Don Black, suddenly change his name and his back on the entire organization?

Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Derek is an intelligent man. Yes, he started a web page for White Children when he was a child, he was indoctrinated into this belief system by his father and his godfather. However he didn’t just take their word on white supremacy, he traveled, he studied and he knew more about history than most history majors.

So when he made the choice to attend a liberal arts college in Florida he tried to stay under the radar. And that worked for a time. It was there that he became friends with immigrants, Jews and started questioning what he had been taught.

The college could have ostracized him, kicked him out, made him quit. But the students didn’t do that. They invited him to Shabbat. They entered into a discourse that would eventually lead to Black taking back everything he had preached and going off grid.

The White Nationalists were given a prize with Trump. They saw someone who said things they wanted to hear. The only thing they clashed on was Israel. Trump himself is a rabble-rouser and these guys took that as a sign to be more and more violent and confrontational.

As uncomfortable as most of the book made me, I am better for having read it.

Netgalley/Doubleday September 18, 2018

RUSH a novel by LISA PATTON

Rush

Set in modern-day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women—from both ends of the social ladder—discovering their voices, courage and empowerment. 

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.

Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

The above is the entire blurb. I did not have one laugh out loud moment, but I did have a lot of uncomfortable ones. I noticed that the author herself is a Alabama graduate but set the story in Ole Miss because everyone loves them. Really? As someone who lived in Mississippi and taught in Mississippi, I sent my children out-of-state for college.

The characters were very superficial and the only one I cared for was Wilda’s husband.

I’m not sure if this was supposed to be funny but it came off as shallow and insensitive. The Greek system is full of racism, elitism and needs to be done away with. You are in college to learn, and the only way to do that is by interacting with people different from you. Generational Racism is alive and well on the majority of campuses. And to say there has never been a black house mother in the SEC is shameful.

I would not recommend this book.

Netgalley/ St.Martin’s Press  August 21, 2018