Reading With Patrick

Reading With Patrick

A Teacher, A Student, and A Life-changing Friendship

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
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Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer in 2004, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America. In this unforgettable memoir, Michelle shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and political awakening. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle's exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle leaves Arkansas to attend law school. When, on graduating, she learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick's education as he sits in jail awaiting trial. For the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and history, and Patrick is galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson, W. S. Merwin, and many others. Reading with Patrick is an inspirational story of friendship, a coming-of-age story for both a young teacher and student, a resonant meditation on race and justice, and a love letter to literature and its power to bind us together.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812997316
081299731X
Branch Call Number: 371.826927092 KUO

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vm510 Nov 30, 2017

Kuo's compassion is evident and inspirational, but she is also honest about her idealism and her romantic notions about teaching. Kuo knows education is important, but also realizes that historical disenfranchisement and institutional neglect are serious obstacles to education.
In this book, Kuo ponders the role of a teacher as well as how difficult it is for students to succeed when faced with poverty, systemic racism, and many emotional traumas.
This book made me happy because I think education is so important to children and young adults. This book made me sad because it showed me that I, as a single person, can't fix these problems.

b
becker
Sep 08, 2017

This book ticked a lot of the boxes that make an enjoyable book for me. It is about the combined power of human connection and education and the impact that can make on individuals and ultimately on society. I was inspired by Michelle Kuo's approach to teaching and loved to watch Patrick find meaning in some of the texts they studied. This a quick and easy read that leaves you feeling hopeful.

Manateestarz Aug 16, 2017

Every teacher would like to have an attentive, bright student like Patrick. But, his situation presents us with some moral questions.
These questions are touched upon too briefly by the author, but Teach for America alum , Michelle K. still writes about her relationship with former student Patrick and her experiences teaching kids at a school for at risk youth in the Mississippi Delta with humor, compassion, and a compelling sincerity.
She takes the reader into the world she encounters and makes us understand what about James Baldwin's work and the work of other African-American writers inspired her to make a difference by enrolling in Teach for America in Helena, Arkansas . She writes about the people she encounters in the Delta without condescension and great understanding.

Michelle Kuo also writes compellingly of her inner struggles, her differences with her parents and her search for meaning in her own career. She makes us care about her neighbors and friends in the Delta and about her own life.

This is a very good book.

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