Live to See the Day
Coming of Age in American Poverty
by Nikhil Goyal
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Pub Date 22 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 29 Sep 2023
Henry Holt & Company, Metropolitan Books
An indelible portrait of three children struggling to survive in the poorest neighborhood of the poorest large city in America
Kensington, Philadelphia, is distinguished only by its poverty. It is home to Ryan, Giancarlos, and Emmanuel, three Puerto Rican children who live among the most marginalized families in the United States. This is the story of their coming-of-age, which is beset by violence—the violence of homelessness, hunger, incarceration, stray bullets, sexual and physical assault, the hypermasculine logic of the streets, and the drug trade. In Kensington, eighteenth birthdays are not rites of passage but statistical miracles.
One mistake drives Ryan out of middle school and into the juvenile justice pipeline. For Emmanuel, his queerness means his mother’s rejection and sleeping in shelters. School closures and budget cuts inspire Giancarlos to lead walkouts, which get him kicked out of the system. Although all three are high school dropouts, they are on a quest to defy their fate and their neighborhood and get high school diplomas.
In a triumph of empathy and drawing on nearly a decade of reporting, sociologist and policymaker Nikhil Goyal follows Ryan, Giancarlos, and Emmanuel on their mission, plunging deep into their lives as they strive to resist their designated place in the social hierarchy. In the process, Live to See the Day confronts a new age of American poverty, after the end of “welfare as we know it,” after “zero tolerance” in schools criminalized a generation of students, after the odds of making it out are ever slighter.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
I picked this up because the sociologist in me needs to know about things like social security payouts, racism, underfunded schools, and just about anything else that affects our society.
This book hit all the spots for me.
I loved how they introduced us to the boys and told us their story, while also introducing us to their parents and communities.
There is a theme of teen pregnancy and jobs that do not pay a living wage, as well as housing that isn't stable. We, as country, know how to fix these things but we opt not to.
I already have three friends in mind I will be recommending this book to.