The Road Out: A Teacher's Odyssey in Poor America

The Road Out A Teacher s Odyssey in Poor America Can one teacher truly make a difference in her students lives when everything is working against them Can a love for literature and learning save the most vulnerable of youth from a life of poverty Th

  • Title: The Road Out: A Teacher's Odyssey in Poor America
  • Author: Deborah Hicks
  • ISBN: 9780520266490
  • Page: 406
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Can one teacher truly make a difference in her students lives when everything is working against them Can a love for literature and learning save the most vulnerable of youth from a life of poverty The Road Out is a gripping account of one teacher s journey of hope and discovery with her students girls growing up poor in a neighborhood that was once home to white AppalCan one teacher truly make a difference in her students lives when everything is working against them Can a love for literature and learning save the most vulnerable of youth from a life of poverty The Road Out is a gripping account of one teacher s journey of hope and discovery with her students girls growing up poor in a neighborhood that was once home to white Appalachian workers, and is now a ghetto Deborah Hicks, set out to give one group of girls something she never had a first rate education, and a chance to live their dreams A contemporary tragedy is brought to life as she leads us deep into the worlds of Adriana, Blair, Mariah, Elizabeth, Shannon, Jessica, and Alicia seven girls coming of age in poverty.This is a moving story about girls who have lost their childhoods, but who face the street s torments with courage and resiliency I want out, says 10 year old Blair, a tiny but tough girl who is extremely poor and yet deeply imaginative and precocious Hicks tries to convey to her students a sense of the power of fiction and of sisterhood to get them through the toughest years of adolescence But by the time they re sixteen, eight years after the start of the class, the girls are experiencing the collision of their youthful dreams with the pitfalls of growing up in chaotic single parent families amid the deteriorating cityscape Yet even as they face disappointments and sometimes despair, these girls cling to their desire for a better future The author s own life story from a poorly educated girl in a small mountain town to a Harvard educated writer, teacher, and social advocate infuses this chronicle with a message of hope.Read an excerpt here The Road Out A Teacher s Odyssey in Poor America by Deborah Hicks by University of California Press

    One thought on “The Road Out: A Teacher's Odyssey in Poor America”

    1. Anyone who has been persuaded that "literature is of no consequence" or "you can't do anything with a degree in literature" or that "poetry makes nothing happen" (Auden's continually misunderstood phrase) should take a look at this book. Hicks was raised in Appalachian country, which is some of the poorest in America, and managed to escape the poverty of her youth through her love of literature. Her parents were working-class, but unlike many of the girls featured in this book, they were poor ye [...]

    2. “When I was a young girl growing up in a sleepy Appalachian paper mill town, I had a lot of dreams for a girl with limited opportunity. Probably the biggest of all my dreams was just to get away from where I was.”This is the opening testament of the author who set on a road to do that very same thing for a group of unfortunate girls that reside in conditions more darker and truer than fiction, this dilemma is a common and increasing reality of our modern age.She goes on to write in her intro [...]

    3. Deborah Hicks is a teacher in one of the poorest sections of the country (a neighborhood in Cincinnati). She formed a loose sort of book club with some of her students and believes that books have the chance to improve lives. (I am oversimplifying things.)I first heard about this book on one of Stephen King's best of lists at the end of the year and knew that I'd want to read this. I also believe that books can save people, and love nonfiction books about books.As a sociology minor, I believe wh [...]

    4. I was really disappointed by this book. The subject matter is right up my alley, but I thought the book was very poorly written. I don't know if privacy issues made Hicks write this book in such an elliptical way, or what, but I definitely felt a lot of evasiveness and vagueness while reading it; I wasn't sure if she was clear on what kind of book she was writing. Sometimes it felt more like a memoir and sometimes it felt like an "education" book, but either way, it really skated along the surfa [...]

    5. The book was interesting but I really wanted to know more. I wonder how Deborah got started in the school program in Cincinnati. I also wonder how the girls for this class were chosen. Since I live in Cincinnati I chose this book because it was a true story about my city. I also do foster care so the lives of young children from poor areas also interest me. There were two things I really didn't like. One was how she allowed the children to talk. I know that is how they talk on the streets and I [...]

    6. This was a fascinating glimpse into the lives of a group of pre-teenage girls and the idealistic young teacher who sees a love of reading and writing among the girls and turns that love into a years-long relationship with books, writing and discovery. The girls all live in an impoverished area of Cincinnati where their childhood is marked by violence, drugs, and abandonment. Like a lot of young girls, they like to read, talk about their lives and explore friendships with others like themselves. [...]

    7. I heard an interview with this author on the radio and was intrigued enough to request it from the library. It’s a nonfiction book about Hicks’s experience teaching in an economically depressed area in Cincinnati, OH. She focuses on a special literature program she began for some girls in the neighborhood’s school. Although the book appears to need to be edited once more (right away there were mistakes like using “pore” instead of “pour”) it is inspiring and gives a good look into [...]

    8. I was hoping this book would be one to share with my librarian co-workers - the power of words and books to transform lives. However, like one reviewer mentioned, the author, in her disjointed writing styles and repetitive one-liners, left me cold. I appreciate her willingness to spend her personal time and money to show her girls a world outside of their neighborhood, but her insistence on them reading specific books and finding the same joy she found in them was difficult to swallow. Let them [...]

    9. Stephen King recommended book. He said in Entertainment Weekly's column The Best Books I Read in 2012: A wrenching account of one woman's attempt to show a group of at-risk preteen girls that literature can offer them a better life, and possibly even an escape route from their poverty-stricken and drug-racked community. The prose is occasionally clunky, but the girls are luminous. Their stories will touch your heart.

    10. This was a phenomenal story about the power of story to inspire women and girls to see better than their marginalized and disempowered circumstances. I saw so many connections between the girls in this story who grew up in Appalachia and the lives of many in Atlantic Canada and other rural regions. The author's love for her students shines through and her belief in their potential is inspiring. It's definitely given me a lot to think about, and a lovely golden bubble of promise to sit in my bell [...]

    11. I picked this up because The Street Stops Here grabbed me by the lapels (or hoodie strings) and shook me so, and this was billed as a chronicle of education for a few girls in rural Appalachia. I was a little disappointed to learn that this took place in inner-city Cincinnati (though the girls in question and the author were born in Appalachia) because I know rural education and poverty are struggles ignored on a national level. The setting doesn't detract from the book, but I felt somehow misle [...]

    12. I noticed that a lot of negative reviews for this book said that it needed a tighter focus. I totally agree, but I don't think that is enough to qualify it as a bad book--just a messy one.The Road Out is about Hicks' experience teaching a small group of pre-teen girls in a very poor Appalachian town about reading and literature comprehension. Hicks grows close to this group of girls, who all go by pseudonyms, and she longs for them to show an interest in education so they don't end up dropping o [...]

    13. This is a 2.5 for me. The book highlights the author's experiences as a teacher creating a literacy/reading group for students from low-income families. I was intrigued by two things: 1) the focus on girls; and 2) the focus on white, Appalacian students. I like to use narrative accounts in my classes, and I don't have a text that focuses specifically on these populations.But this book needs a good editor! There is both too much here (too many girls, too much passage of time, too much foreshadowi [...]

    14. A look at a literature program that the author created to help at-risk girls in Cincinnati public schools. The book hooked me right away, as one of the girls in the program had a strong attachment to a book by Stephen King, one of my favorite authors! This book follows the girls, teacher, and program for four years, and does a brief follow up at the end. The stories are sad, inspiring, and at times, hard to read, but it is a good look at what can happen when education and literature combine to i [...]

    15. This is a very important read about what we as a country are not doing to insure that all of our children have a fighting chance to live a decent life as adults. Deborah Hicks tells her story of working in the ghetto of Cincinnati trying to share her love of reading with a small group of young girls who believe that they want a better life. The lives of those around them are filled with empty days, pill popping, drinking, and finding a way to pay for their habits. The author works to engage the [...]

    16. This was okay. I had two major issues: first, that anyone who only taught for four years (and in a special class) could really talk definitively about the issue of poverty and education, and secondly, the lack of true follow up over time (obviously she was limited by her own timeline but I wanted to see these kids In their late 20s, early 30s to really understand where they ended up). It's not a bad book but there are better ones which actually make real suggestions about how we might address th [...]

    17. I found this book really engaging. It's important to remember that this book is a memoir. As the critical reader notes, Hicks does bring with her preconceived notions about literature and expectations for the girls, but much of the focus is on how her experiences with these girls led her to shed her biases and reflect on herself as a teacher. She comes to appreciate not only the girls themselves but the literature that is meaningful to their inner lives. Some of these stories really jump off the [...]

    18. The premise is compelling, the author's intentions are pure, and the female students she teaches and tracks are worthy - but the writing style is mediocre at best, and dampens the impact this book could have made. I chose it because Stephen King named it one of his "best books for 2013" in a late 2012 Entertainment Weekly column. Now I realize he was motivated by the book's frequent references to his own books. The ending was sad, but not surprising: education CAN save young people, but it doesn [...]

    19. The Road Out by Deborah Hicks is a true story about a young teacher who teaches seven young girls in a poor neighborhood. The parts of the book I enjoyed were:(1) When the teacher was trying to get through to the girls, and having a hard time;(2) How each girl had her own personality and outlook on life; and(3) The last few chapters that let you know how the girls are doling.Not a must read, but is a good read. I think any teacher would really enjoy, but even if you aren't a teacher, you may lik [...]

    20. As a teacher myself, this books serves as a reminder that we can't fix the circumstances that our students are in or control what will happen in the future. We can however, leave them better people. We can leave them with hope for the future and better tools to get there. This book also points out some important issues with education as we know it for our poorer students and how reforms meant to help a majority is actually perhaps making it harder and harder for these students to break free of g [...]

    21. I went to the bookstore yesterday and got this book. When I got home I read the entire book in one night. At times I wonder the difference that one teacher can make in the lives of students. This book answers those questions and even more. I feel as though it is a must read for teachers especially ones that work with children in extreme cases of poverty.

    22. Well-realized personal story of a teacher's attempt to connect with young students, and in turn help those students connect with books, writing, and their interior lives. The author also touches on an under-reported and examined phenomenon (at least to my knowledge) of the out-migration from Appalachia to the North in parallel with the Black migration

    23. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this book. The book describes the plight of low income students and how the author started a reading group to help them. I was uncomfortable with the book, especially the way the author allowed the students to run the show. I would not recommend this title to people who want to motivate young children to become readers.

    24. Loved most of this, but Hicks often lacks an authentic voice and lapses into the voices of her students: using words such as "retarded." There were also times in the narrative that I felt she was more of a researcher than a teacher. She let some key teachable moments slip, choosing not to teach her students to avoid racist language and stereotypes.

    25. I wanted to like this more than I did. I think I mainly had trouble with the writing style, which jumped around a lot and retold the same facts multiple times. The last third of the book was by far improved over the first part.

    26. A teacher works with 7 pre-teen girls in a poor white neighborhood in Cincinnati. She tries to give them a road out through novels and traces their personal stories to their 20th birthdays. It was well written but I felt despair at what the girls experienced.

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