Reading With Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and the Life-Changing Power of Books
By Michelle Kuo
Reading with Patrick is the true story of a teacher, a student who lost his way and the redemptive power of books.Tweet
Not everyone in the book group finished this book, many people felt that although it was an interesting book it wasn't one that grabbed their attention and made them want to keep reading. We all realised just how little we all know about black history, especially from the region the book is based in, it's something we felt we should really know more about. We all really enjoyed the bits about the history of this area that the author put in, but given the blurb on the book we weren't aware that there would so much of that in the book.
We found that some bits of the book were quite confusing as the author skips around a bit in time, we often weren't sure how much time had elapsed between one bit and another. We were also aware that throughout the book we were only hearing from her point of view rather than that of any of her pupils for example. We felt that if we had heard their voices as well this would have fleshed out the story a little more. We heard from the author about how much difference she felt she had made to the lives of these kids, but was that true or just wishful thinking on her part?
We felt that this wasn't a book that we would ever re-read but it would be interesting to read around the topic to get a fuller picture of the issues other than just those of the author.
Overall we gave this book 6 out of 10.
The Macclesfield Library reading group received this book for free as part of the reading agency offer, here are some of our thoughts;
"I enjoyed the book and was amazed I got to the end of a non-fiction. I learnt a lot about Black History and the state of society- I felt quite shocked to be honest. I realized how uneducated I am about American Literature and felt inspired to read more."
"A good read in parts but so many themes to grasp. I felt a stronger editor would have been useful in making the book more cohesive"
"An insight into the injustices of Black America in the south and especially the judicial system. I found it heavy going in parts"
"I found it hard to get into for the first few chapters but then after that I really enjoyed the book. I was able to find some inspiration especially from the "I AM" poem. I found the book nourishing for the soul and mind."
Our reading group enjoyed this book, we learned a lot about what life is really like for people from that community and the social injustice that exists. We enjoyed the friendship between Michelle & Patrick, and also discovered some new American literature, which some members have subsequently read further. At times the writing was somewhat academic, which made some sections a bit difficult to read but this not surprising given the profession of the author. On the whole it was engaging and interesting, and we were glad we had the opportunity to read this book.
A confusing book. Very strong on the injustice of the legal system in Southern USA and the social depravation.
The story of the teacher/pupil relationship is oddly naïve and disturbing
Somewhat baffling without previous knowledge of the educational system in the USA.
I became discouraged from time to time, having to re-read back into the context.
The plot varies in pace throughout.. agility of mind is required.
The characters kept up my motivation to learn more about them.
I don't feel Patrick benefited particularly by reading , but by the one to one attention by a caring adult. I think Patrick's reading skills might regress again as they did when Ms Kua left the Delta.
A sometimes thought provoking read that explains a world I've never even thought about. I found the book a bit slow to get in to, but once it moved to the teaching stories it really picked up the pace.
The stark honesty of what life would be like for the young, black people of the South was sometimes shocking, and I think the author did her best to convey this to people who couldn't even begin to contemplate that life could be like that.
The book didn't captivate me as much as it could have, but a good read as a whole.
Such an interesting book, and whilst this has been given a '3' as an average, group members individually gave this book 4.5 and 4/5 too.
This tells Michelle's story of 'Reading with Patrick' but whilst doing so, gives you so much more to think about.
Our group agreed this was an easy to read book, quite light and flowed easily despite the books content. I is an important book to read, and whilst it isn't necessarily Patrick who has written his side of the story, it is one that needed telling. It highlights many important issues for discussion both historic and how this relates to us now. Most importantly it demonstrates the deep importance of someone with a passion for reading and how the foundation of reading transforms lives.
Move this to the top of your book pile.