Sunday, September 13, 2009

#BookReview: A Hope in the Unseen - Ron Suskind

Self-hate is alive and well in Cedric Jennings. This story, which won the author a Pulitzer Prize as a two part story in the Wall Street Journal, follows a Washington, DC student through high school into his freshman year at Brown University. To overcome adversity and make it from the inner city to the Ivy League is something to be applauded. To denigrate those that helped you along the way is something to be condemned.

Cedric Jennings is angry and with good reason, given the environment in which he's been raised. But his character is not at all likable. While in high school he continuously expresses disdain and contempt for those around him. His holier than thou attitude did not endear him to this reader. Believing that his attitude might change upon a shift to a new environment, Brown, I continued with the story, only to find that while his location changed, his attitude did not. The character continues to be contemptuous to those around him regardless of race, creed, color or socioeconomic standing. Understand that his problem is not with those around him, but with himself.

I'm puzzled as to why this young man was picked by the author to follow for several years. Yes, he survived and made it out, but there's nothing remarkable about him other than that. This book was a national bestseller when it came out in 1998 and received raving reviews from the mainstream, liberal media, perhaps wanting to believe that this young man was a shining example of what inner city black children could become with the assistance of whites in shining armor. Me? I'm unimpressed and underwhelmed.
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