Monday, April 23, 2012

Something like Hope

It’s one thing to experience the normal things that adolescents go through, but for teenage Shavonne; life was not that simple.

Hope is defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.  In “Something like Hope” Shawn Goodman tells the story of an angry and hurting seventeen year old girl who has spent most of her childhood and teenage years in juvenile detention centers.  Shavonne’s life has been filled with abuse, neglect, guilt, and pain which cause her to become numb, full of rage, and often blaming others for her problems.  She tries so hard to mask her hurt by acting out and hurting others.  While in the detention center Shavonne becomes acquainted with Mr. Delpopolo, her counselor.  Mr. Delpopolo encourages Shavonne to open up and face her past.  As she begins to trust and befriend Mr. Delpopolo, she shares with him the many struggles that she has gone through and begins to go through a healing process as she deals with the troubles from her past.  She tells him that her mom is a crack addict and prostitute and that her absentee dad died from a liver disease in jail.  She discloses that she had been physically abused and was raped while in foster care.  She also tells him that she got pregnant at the age of sixteen and gave up her daughter Jasmine to the foster care system.  But there is one more skeleton in her closet that Mr. Delpopolo wants Shavonne to face before she is released on her eighteenth birthday.  Throughout the story you may wonder after encountering all of this including dealing with abusive and crooked guards; is there hope for Shavonne after all.

"Something like hope" is a good, young adult novel that older teens may enjoy because the story is engaging and addresses real issues. For me, this book was a sad read.  Knowing that this is someone’s reality is heart wrenching and brings tears to my eyes.  In many ways this book reminds me of Make Lemonade by Virginia Wolff because at the end of the book it is inferred that Shavonne is at a place in her life where she is ready to make a change, move on from her past, and find happiness.


Marisela said...

The detention centers are a good way to expose students to the hardships others go through. I was exposed to detention center by reading "Go Ask Alice" it was an eye opener for me because it made me realize the situations others my age go through and how we all vulnerable to falling in that path.

I am glad she ended up moving from her past and finding happiness, sometimes as young adults we tend to cling on the past but it also serves to teach everyone that there is still hope.

Shachon said...

“Something Like Hope” seems like it is a book that young and old can read and appreciate as well as learn from and hopefully discuss. We have to do more to show our young people that regardless where they come from or even whatever mistakes they have made, they can better themselves if they want to. They just have to know that we really believe.