In lieu of a review, I’d like to share 2 quotes that I especially liked —
“Sure, government fails sometimes. (By the way, corporations fail sometimes, too.) But I don’t believe the response to government failure — such as the inept response to Hurricane Katrina or the slew of failures that led to the financial crisis — should be a snarky “I told you so” or a heavy sigh of resignation. No: the response should be *outrage*. The government — *our* government — should be held to a higher standard.” (p.186)
“How do we build a future? I made the case for what I believe: We are stronger and wealthier because of the things we build together. We are more secure when we create a foundation that allows each of us to have a decent chance to build something on our own. We are better off when we invest in one another. It’s economics and values, tied tightly together.” (p.216)
The stories impress themselves upon you, and you’ll remember each one’s unique shape, tone and character. Raw in some areas, jarring in others (an uneducated housewife with a penchant for Tsai Ming Liang?), teetering on cliche even. But Lee Koe shows she has her finger clearly on the pulse of these times: our sex-cynical, social media-soaked, hipster-populated years. She’s only 23 @_@ I’m looking forward to more of her writing.
Liked the descriptions and scenes of 1920s (I think) Paris the most. These are narrated tersely, with just enough visual and aural detail. Thought the narrator’s inner ruminations seemed convoluted and tedious by comparison, with the diction overly formal.
The book presents evidence that success in education (and in one’s life) is determined in large part by non-cognitive skills — grit, determination, persistence etc — rather than raw academic ability or IQ. It also describes the experiences of educators working against great odds to inculcate in disadvantaged kids habits and skills to improve their educational outcomes, so that they can rise above their circumstances. Inspiring stuff.