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Invisible Child

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The Invisible Child is a heart wrenching story of homelessness poverty in America.We follow Dasini and her siblings through eight years in their lives.Poor hungry struggling to survive caring for her brothers and sisters.Her spirit shines through the story of her life.I still think of her and her struggles hoping she will survive and thrive.#netgalley #randomhouse.
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I am finding it somewhat difficult to write a review of this book without falling into a black hole of condemning our welfare/social services system. It is broken. It is incredibly horribly broken. I knew that before starting to read this book and can't imagine that anyone reading this book wouldn't finish feeling the same way. The dreaded feeling of wondering what bad thing would happen every time Dasani or something in her family got a step ahead was incredibly stressful. Knowing that this book was nonfiction and would not necessarily provide even a glimpse of a happy ending sometimes made it hard to continue. The whole situation was very overwhelming. And I was only reading the book, not living the life. I wish the right people would read books like this and realize that no the people on public assistance are not bilking the system and living some easy lazy life. Perhaps a look into the system we have forced on someone asking for a little assistance would change this country's mindset and result in some actual solid productive change?
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for gifting me a digital ARC of this unforgettable story by Andrea Elliott - 5 stars.

Dasani Coates was born into a life of poverty, drug abuse and neglect, even with married parents with the best of intentions.  As the almost-oldest, Dasani had to take on the role of parent to her 7 siblings from a very early age.  The author, NY Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner, entrenched herself into this family's life for over a decade and was witness to the homeless crisis and fear of child protection agencies endured by so many.  When Dasani is finally accepted into a boarding school in PA, her life seems nothing but bright.  But the transition to become what was expected of her by the school meant leaving herself and her family behind.

This is an eye-opening look into how quickly people can get into no-win situations with bureaucracies that are supposed to help them.  While not dismissing parental responsibility, this book will make you look at those slippery slopes of homelessness for so many with long-reaching pasts of poverty.  But there is also hope - Dasani has teachers, administrators, counselors who do their best to help her succeed.  My family has visited Hershey Park in PA and seen the school on the hill - this is also a fascinating look into that amazing situation that has the potential to turn around lives.

This is a must-read book - don't miss it!
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I have insufficient words to comment on this outstanding book. It is a journey of approximately 8 years sharing the lives of a poor, sometimes homeless, family in New York City with special emphasis on the oldest, gifted daughter. The author has created a flawless and memorable look at the bureaucracy we’ve created to “help” the poor, the jobless, and/or the homeless people in our midst.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC to read and review.
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This was a long read and I found lots of it repetitive. I understand the author was making a point about the system being broken and she sure did with this story. This book was sad and depressing but necessary. Homelessness, drug use, abuse, poverty, neglect, mental health struggles and more are all connected with this family. I could easily see how the cycle of poverty and lack of parenting lead to MORE poverty and lack of parenting. 

I was hoping for more of a story and less of a report. This was a factual, detailed report of Dasani's life and the struggles of her family. It saddens me to think that there are so many other families in the same situation in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.
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Andrea Elliot did an absolutely phenomenal job of chronicling not only the life of Dasani and her family, but also the systemic issues and policy failures that led to her family’s struggles. 
The story is heartbreaking and hard to read. I had to step away and come back many times in order to finish. This is a story that is necessary because it shows us exactly how so many families like Dasani’s have slipped through the cracks.
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Thank you Netgalley and Random House for sharing this stunning book. I was not familiar with the 2013 NYT series on Dasani and her family, who are the focus of this book. Similar to books like Evicted or Just Mercy, this opened my eyes to the systemic problems faced by poor families in a new way. Prior to reading this, I understood these problems existed but in such an abstract way. The immediacy of this reporting expanded my understanding and put my empathy into a type of hyper-drive. I was engaged from the first page, going to bed anxious every evening wondering what was next and what the outcome of the family would be. As another reviewer said, you will experience every emotion while reading this. At the conclusion, I feel angry and sad over aspects of our broken social welfare system.  Towards the end of the book, Chanel (the family’s mom) looks through a window at a list of other names and cases waiting for social services and wonders about their stories, and that was the thought I had as well. I wholeheartedly recommend this and I hope everyone reads it, especially those with the power to change things.
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***Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review***

This is a 4.5 rounded up to 5 stars because it is a well-told narrative of how our systems fail to help individuals and families, and yet I am still slightly uncomfortable with what it means to have a privileged white woman tell the story. As the book gains popularity, I'd be curious to hear more about how Andrea Elliott will pass the mic/pen and help amplify those who have been and are currently working to dismantle the oppressive systems and build better ones.

There is no denying that the writing of this book is great. It flows well between people and times, and Elliott includes important background information on policy, politics, history, and more so that the reader can better understand how it all plays out in the life of one family and one child. Dasani, the girl around which most of the book revolves, is the lovable human face upon which is reflected the many failings of our society. We shouldn't have to exploit her story in order to feel something about these issues, yet at the same time there's no doubt that it is highly effective. On the flip side, it is important to remember that there are very real consequences for real live people whenever decisions are made by those higher up. There is a delicate balance to be struck between using someone's story and empowering them to share it if they so choose. 

In any case, I finished reading this book feeling infuriated. The bureacratic bullshit was mind-boggling, like when the children had to miss school to line up and wait to be re-admitted into the system, just because of a missed curfew. It really goes to show how our society expects people to pull themselves up by the bootstraps while simultaneously infantilizing them and putting hurdle upon hurdle in front of them. This book also makes a good case for community care, such as family taking in the children of those who died from AIDS or raising children collaboratively. Marginalized people have always had to be creative in how they lived because the system never gave them any other option. If only we just listened to them, we'd see that they have the knowledge and experience to come up with their own solutions. 

And just like that, I want a follow-up from Dasani and her family about their own ideas of how to best support the unhoused and what they believe would have made a difference in their own story.
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This is a very detailed description of an urban family caught in the labyrinth of welfare, food stamps, foster care, child protective services, drugs, rehab, and court appearances, all while desperately trying to free themselves from the very services that are supposed to be helping them. It is a subject I admit I knew nothing about, and this book is an eye opening introduction. I highly recommend it.
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Invisible Child is a record of one girl’s journey as observed by a reporter. I found the family history of Dasani and her extended family interesting. The author uses a lot of statistics to make her case. I read a wide array of books amd try to look at different perspectives. Part of the story is sad and depressing, others are uplifting and inspiring.
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Watch out world! There's going to be all kinds of reckonings when this book comes out. I expect to see it shooting up to the top of the New York Times best seller list and for it to be THE topic of discussion and hopefully a catalyst for change. But, what change, I wonder?
Dasani is the invisible child that was profiled in a series the author wrote for the New York Times. The series gave Dasani her ten minutes of fame and she even met the mayor. But what happened after that? Rightfully, the author couldn't let it go and this book tells the story of Dasani and her family's lives after the series ran.

Elliot has done a superb job of both relating the story and backing it up with history and facts. If you don't believe that racism is systemic, you will certainly see it after reading this book. Was there even the possibility of success for this family? What could have been done differently? What are the multitude of ways that we are failing to support those in need? Is it even possible to fix such a broken system? 

There's a saying "Fall down seven times, get up eight." It's miraculous that anyone survives a journey like this.
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You will experience every emotion imaginable at one point or another in this book. Andrea Elliott picks up the story or Dasani Sykes and her family where her New York Times 2014 series left off. Them Dasani was 11, living in a single room in Brooklyn homeless shelter with her mother, stepfather, and seven siblings. As the oldest girl, she is "parentified" (a word I learned from this book)--acting as the mother of her siblings, getting them up, getting them dressed, getting them to the shelter's free breakfast, getting them to school on time. All the kids have promise, but Dasani is special, she has drive, she is happy to be mentored by her teachers and coaches. She's eighteen at the end of the book. Will she be able to realize some or any of her potential?

"Invisible Child" should be read by everyone. Andrea Elliott's writing is tough and poignant, a terrific piece of reportage. This story will stick with you. Read it.

Many, many thanks to Random House and Netgalley for access to this remarkable book.
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I am still recovering from this book.  I went to bed at night, wondering where the family was, how they were.  Invisible Child literally consumed my thoughts for the last week.  I cannot accurately put into words how I felt about this book.
A story that makes you so angry, and then you realize this is just one family.  I want to change it all, I can’t change anything.  I want to go help them all, I can’t help anyone.  
What choices would I make for my children if I were in Chanel’s shoes?  Maybe the same, maybe worse?  Chanel loves her children.  But love can’t save them.  
I will need to come back and revise this review, as my thoughts are so jumbled.  But invisible Child is a life changing read.  This book should be required reading.  Thank you Andrea Elliott
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