Friday, May 11, 2012

Elyse Reads!

Hello Readers,

Today is the final day of guest reviews by Dr. Jones’ students. Today, I welcome Elyse who read “Something Like Hope” by Shawn Goodman!

Hi, everyone! My name is Elyse. I graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2010 with a degree in Adolescence Education (Social Studies 7-12). I am currently a graduate student at Nazareth College in the Literacy (5-12) program. If I were to choose which subject I would most like to teach I would choose U.S. Government and Politics. I love to read, although I have to admit I don’t often have the chance to sit down and read something for fun. Usually I read things for school, although this semester has been a lot different because I’ve had the chance to read for fun AND I have to do it for class. I haven’t heard about TBF until this year, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what it’s all about!

I am thrilled to write a review of “Something Like Hope” by TBF author, Shawn Goodman, to share with all of you. This book was chosen for me to read and review, but it also happens to be my favorite so far this semester. Although the main character’s experiences are vastly different from my own, I found that I was able to relate to her more than I originally thought I would. Some of the emotions she experienced throughout the book are pretty common despite her extraordinary situation.

“Something Like Hope” is told from the perspective of Shavonne. She is 17 years old and has lived through some awful things. Her mother — in pursuit of cocaine to satisfy her addiction — neglected Shavonne and her younger brother, Marcus. Shavonne was abused throughout numerous foster care placements, had a baby at 16 while she was locked up, and faces a future overshadowed by the threat of an extension of her time in prison.

Time is running out for Shavonne, who is only months away from her 18th birthday. She begins meeting with a new psychologist at the Center, Mr. Delpopolo, whom she would like to trust but finds it difficult to do so. Through her experiences, she has learned not to trust anyone. Talking to this psychologist seems like her last chance to try to figure out how to get past her issues and change her life for the better so that she might avoid an extended sentence in prison, and maybe even find her little brother who was separated from her years ago. Will she be able to work with Mr. Delpopolo to find a way out, or will she allow her past to determine her future?

“Something Like Hope” is a heartbreaking and honest look at of some of the cruelty and unfair treatment that many people similar to Shavonne have to live through. From abusive guards who are not held responsible for their actions, to support staff and mental health professionals who are careless and corrupt, a place like the Center can be as harmful to the people held there as the places they came from on the outside.

Through all of the difficulties, Shavonne fought to get her life back. She was fortunate enough that there were a few honest and kind people around to help her through the obstacles. Not everyone in facilities similar to the one in the book would be able to say the same. This book definitely raises awareness of some of these very real issues. It seems so genuine. It is incredibly sad, so I would advise anyone who decides to read the book to have some tissues ready to go. For all of these reasons, I think this book is 100% worth taking the time to read! I even read it twice!

I recommend it to everyone, and I can’t wait to see Shawn Goodman at TBF!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Elyse! I agree that “Something Like Hope” sounds incredibly powerful – I’m adding it to my “to read” list!

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