Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Rashid is a city kid from Brooklyn who is one of the few black students to attend the prestigious private school Chelsea. His arrival at the school follows the shooting death of his brother and Rashid struggles with his loss and with fitting in socially and academically at Chelsea. Hope would seem to come from Jerome, the black classics teacher and cross-country coach, but Jerome is reluctant to become a racial role model and pushes Rashid harder than the other students. He resents the disruption to the discipline and order that he has embraced in his dual role at Chelsea. Jana, a white woman who previously taught in inner city Cleveland schools, does take an interest in Rashid and also pursues a relationship with Jerome. Rashid’s experiences at the school are told through these three characters and how they relate to each other while coping with their own losses and pasts. Beyond the theme of race, this novel has a lot to tell about how the past shapes us in ways we can’t always anticipate.