Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation by Jonathan Kozol. 1995 Crown Publishers, Inc.
This is not a book review. This is an older title and unrelated to the “Writing Peace Corps Memoir” topic. I needed a change of pace and this was a book that had been on my read list for a long time. It certainly brought me back to earth. It took me away from the writing rules, Peace Corps, Hawaii and the Philippines and placed me into the slums of New York City.
Yes, it is somewhat dated but I’m sure that the slums are still there and undoubtedly worse now than in 1995. In a way it made me feel a bit like I felt when I returned home from my Peace Corps service. Back then I was acutely aware of the terrible way this country wastes food, while others go hungry. Then there are always the wasted resources, the dishonesty and the misuse. On top of that there is our failing educational system which is given cursory coverage in this book but the author has written another book about that: The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home: A Bold Inquiry into the Values and Goals of America’s Schools, 1990. I will keep this book in mind when I need another writing break.
Why isn’t there a Peace Corps for the slums of New York? There are a thousand why’s with no real answers.