Monday, March 22, 2010

3rd Quarter ORB Review

The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell, Broadway Books, 1999. Genre: Biography.

This book is about a young college English teacher who gets a position at Wilson High School and discovers her class is the "reject" class. The school and community are extremely racist and unwilling to accept anyone who isn't white and rich. Erin Gruwell entered her new classroom to find a group of multiracial, fed-up, poor, marked-stupid, kids. Ms. G., as the teenagers call her, help them to deal with their problems through writing. They create diaries of the things in their life and discover through that and activities in class, that they're more alike than they thought.

"Straight from the front line of urban America, the inspiring story of one fiercely determined teacher and her remarkable students."

This book is unlike any other book I've ever read. Basically every single page has a different diary entry from a student. No names are ever mentioned of students, which can, at times, make it difficult to follow. This book is also very hard to explain, so you just have to read it. Since this book was written by teens, the style is very easy to read and easy to relate to, even if the situations aren't.

I haven't read any other books by Erin Gruwell and I don't know what each of the students are doing now. Like I said, I've never read a book like this. It has such power and emotion that wasn't expected, even being told about it.

"I stood, staring at them, as if it were an illusion that I was seeing. I closed my eyes, thinking that the vision would go away, but when I opened my eyes, the cross was still there. I came to realize that these were the same people who had beaten me earlier that day, and they continued to beat me, not physically, but emotionally. " (168)

I think this book really opened up my eyes to the world around me. The topic and theme affected me the most. It made me realize that I'm pretty ignorant. I thought South Hadley was bad, but the stories these students wrote will stick with me forever. I really liked the realism to it. I liked how the students were so open, willing, and vulnerable with their writing. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.

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