Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Heartwrenching

I ALWAYS have a book going. No matter where I am, I carry a book. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday & I took a book, but there is always at least a short wait. Mostly, I read fiction. It is a good way to get away from the real world, and live someone else's life for a bit. While sometimes that means being chased by huge, scary monsters in a Stephen King novel, or the mafia in a Sandra Brown, it can also mean traveling the Titanic with Danielle Steel or leading a life of luxury. Even if the novel starts out with the hero or heroine poor, usually the point is to follow them through their lives until they work there way out of poverty and into the lap of luxury.

Now that does not mean that I never read anything educational or enlightning, just that I prefer to read to relax.

My bff, P, came down for the wedding brought me a book that her mother had given her. (Her mother being the most socially conscious person that I think I have ever met.) P was determined to finish the book while she was here because she wanted to leave it with me. I didn't take it on my honeymoon, because she said it was depressing, but I started it on Sunday.

It is horrifying. I know there are poor people. I know people live in terror due to gangs, violence, AIDS, etc. This book has allowed me to see into the Bronx and Harlem. The book is breaking my heart every single minute. I am certain that is what the author intended.

The book is "Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation" by Jonathan Kozol.

In the fourth chapter Mr. Kozol is speaking of a child who died in a fire and gets him confused with another child who died in a fire and finally says

"In order to keep these different children clear in my own mind, I finally had
to make a map of the South Bronx and put it on the wall over my desk, placing a
marker on each block in which a child died, using one symbol for death by fire,
one for death by accident, and one for death by gunshot."


How do we live with ourselves? How do we function? What can we do to make it better for the poor? Especially the children?

3 comments:

Pete Bogs said...

some people have no social conscience... I call them Republicants... LOL

welcome back

andante said...

I poor-mouth all the time about us, but I guess we all need to do more soul-searching. When I look back on my life, even at the 'poorest' times - I have no idea what to be really poor feels like.

I like the escapist fiction myself. But everyone should be required to keep something around like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed.

That goes double for the jackasses who insist on abolishing the minimum wage.

LeftLeaningLady said...

Thanks Pete.

Andante, I completely agree, but the people that our in this book just wish they had jobs. It is truly horrible what they go through. I was trying to talk to someone yesterday about it (yes, Republicant, Pete) who said (really!), "I am not willing to help them out so that they can sit on their ass." Stupidity is rampant!