Adult non fiction
Today I take a break from pitching new books to try to interest
you in a profound and disturbing (profoundly disturbing?) classic that
came out when my Amber was still in diapers. Why? Well in today's
economic climate it's unfortunately as relevant today as it was hot
off the press--if not more so.
Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here chronicles two years
in the lives of Lafayette and Pharaoh Rivers, brothers growing up in
the Henry Horner projects in Chicago in the late eighties. The title
implies that in that world the smallest inhabitants have witnessed so
much of the dark side of life they are kids in size and chronological
age only. After reading the book I'd tend to agree. Regularly the
boys attend friends' funerals. Family members end up in prison.
Their mother hopes that out of her eight children will make it out of
the neighborhood and succeed. The boys wonder if they will make it to
It took Kotlowitz years to write the book. He became so close
to the boys' family he considers them friends. In addition to
spending lots of time with his subjects he interviewed over one
hundred other people. Half of the incidents recorded were ones he
Childhood deserves to be a protected time where needs are
tenderly met and innocence is maintained. For so many youngsters this
is not the case. Inner city projects aren't the only places they must
grow up too fast. Read Carolyn Chute's books, fir instance, to get
insights into rural poverty.
I fear that as the rich gain wealth and the poor lose ground
childhood will become an unaffordable luxery for too many of our
fellow Americans. If this does not deserve concerted action on our
part, I don't know what does.
On a personal note, for the July to June fiscal year I made my goal of
150 Orono Public Library volunteer hours. What should I shoot for
this year? 200?
A great big shout out goes out to all who fight to give kids
childhoods and hope for the future.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod