Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student and a Life-Changing Friendship
A memoir of race, inequality and the power of literature told through the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student who was jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta. As a young English teacher keen to make a difference in the world, Michelle Kuo took a job at a tough school in the Mississippi Delta, sharing books and poetry with a young African-American teenager named Patrick and his classmates. For the first time, these kids began to engage with ideas and dreams beyond their small town, and to gain an insight into themselves that they had never had before. Two years later, Michelle left to go to law school; but Patrick began to lose his way, killing a man and facing a lengthy jail sentence. And that's when Michelle decided that her work was not done, and began to visit Patrick once a week, and soon every day, to read with him again. Finely written in the very best tradition of American long-form narrative, Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo is a story of hope, redemption and the power of books to transform - and even to save - a life.
Reading with Patrick is the true story of a teacher, a student who lost his way and the redemptive power of books.
Remarkable ... Honest, generous, humble and wise, Reading with Patrick will endure as a defining story for our times, and, abidingly, a testament to the power of language and of books. -- Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children and The Woman Upstairs This book is special and could not be more right on time. An absorbing, tender, and surprisingly honest examination of race and privilege in America, Reading with Patrick helps articulate what is often lost, seemingly intentionally, in national debates over criminal justice and education: the inner life and imagination of a young person. -- Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore Riveting ... An empathetic story of connection: between a dedicated teacher and her student, between history and our current times, and between literature and life. It is hard to imagine a more inspiring testament to the transformative power of reading. -- Elliot Holt, author of You Are One of Them A gorgeous, urgent and heartbreaking memoir. -- Darcy Frey, author of The Last Shot I delighted in this book and read it in a single weekend. Reading with Patrick is a significant work that could swell the ranks of highly motivated and qualified teachers-people who understand they are not just transferring information but transforming lives -- Bill Moyers
Michelle Kuo taught English at an alternative school in the Arkansas Delta for two years. After teaching, she attended Harvard Law School as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and worked at a nonprofit for undocumented immigrants in Oakland, California, on a Skadden Fellowship, with a focus on tenants' and workers' rights. Currently she teaches courses on race, law, and society at the American University of Paris.
Introduction - i: IntroductionUnit - 1: Part IChapter - 1: A Raisin in the SunChapter - 2: The Free WriteChapter - 3: The Fire Next TimeUnit - 2: Part IIChapter - 4: The Death of Ivan IlyichUnit - 3: Part IIIChapter - 5: Crime and PunishmentChapter - 6: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeChapter - 7: He Wishes for the Cloths of HeavenChapter - 8: Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassChapter - 9: I Have Read Everything on This Paper (The Guilty Plea)Chapter - 10: To Paula in Late SpringUnit - 4: Part IVChapter - 11: Easter MorningSection - ii: Author's NoteAcknowledgements - iii: Acknowledgments