Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Monday, May 7, 2018

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez (Book Review)

Goodreads Descriptions:

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighborhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.

And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father's mental illness; Sylvie, Bing's best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.

Scarborough offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone.

My Thoughts:

After I lost my Mom, books couldn't hold my attention. My mind was all over the place and I needed to find something that I could read. Reading is my "self care," it's how I unwind and take time for myself. Scarborough was the book that captured my attention. This is a book that will open your eyes and force you too look around and see people in a different light.

The children really captured my heart, we are introduced to such innocent children. We see how some parents are very loving and caring, but lack resources. They still do their best to care for their children. Other parents, don't even try.  Children forced to live with one parent, and then passed on to the other without a second thought. Children going to school without breakfast, or a lunch. It's heartbreaking and it's reality. As I read through this book, I became attached to the children. Their unique understanding of their world, and trying to adapt. We see these children through Hina, a muslim school worker who runs the literacy program. She's a fantastic character. Every child should have access to a Ms. Hina; someone who looks out for them. 

This book is multi layered and a great read. The emotions are real and raw. Towards the end of the book, the story shifted away from the children a little bit and it left me feeling a little disconnected from the characters, which is why I didn't give it 5 stars. The representation in this book was great. I loved the Native representation, as well as the black, gay and immigrant representation. Overall, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone. I think this book could appeal to a wide audience and it's worth the read. 

Rating: 4/5
Source: Personal Copy
Pages: 272 Pages

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