Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Fine worthy. What does it mean for a book to be fine worthy?  I'm a slow reader, so I often find myself in situations where I haven't finished my book, but it's due back to the library. For every other book I've read in my career here, I've simply turned the book in, put it back on hold, and waited my turn for it to come back around to me to finish it. But I simply couldn't do that with this book. I HAD to keep reading it. Even though the title of the book gives away the fact that it isn't going to end well for this guy, I had to know how he comes to his final days. How did a road that began in the ghettos of Newark, and stopped at Yale along the way, end? How did this man who obviously touched the lives of so many people end up dying long before his potential, his brain, and, most importantly, his heart should have. 

Robert Peace is both a unique story, and, sadly, the story of so many. In the end, it is really the story of a person who doesn't "fit in" any place, but who manages to fit in every place.  Labeled a nerd by neighborhood kids from his home and a thug by fellow classmates at Yale, he finds little solace in any place in America. Americans like people to be one thing, after all. We judge people by their polo shirts or cornrows or grade point average or textbooks, and it is difficult for people who want to be both a "chill" friend and an avid learner at the same time. His story is fascinating and speaks to many who hide a piece of who they are to "be the man." 

I disagree with one point in the book. Robert Peace had a short life, and certainly he experienced a tragic death. But upon his death, hundreds of people came to honor his life, from all around the world. He touched groups of people from all walks of life with his generosity, his work ethic, his intelligence, and his open heart - that, ladies and gentlemen, is an amazing legacy to leave on this earth, and not a tragic life at all. Here's hoping that one of you will read this book and be inspired to give one child an opportunity that they wouldn't otherwise have had, even if it is in a small way.   The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs is fine worthy, and you'll be mesmerized by the story.

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