What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Things I Haven't Thought about in Awhile

When was the last time you thought about Hobbes or Rousseau and Social Contract Theory?  For me it was YEARS ago, when I was back there in seminary school at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers didn't disappoint.  And it could have, because I have very high standards for Mr. Myers, because he is a truly masterful writer.
Like a lot of his books, this one is set in Harlem, with a male, teen main character.  Paul didn't know his dad very well.  His father had some serious problems with drugs.  As the summer begins Paul and his mother learn that his father is dead.  He was accidentally shot, an innocent bystander, victim of street violence.  Paul has a lot to think about and he ends up having a lot to think about when he spends his summer volunteering at Elijah's Soup Emporium.  Elijah is an old man who makes soup and serves it to senior citizens in the neighborhood.  Elijah is also a brilliant philosopher and historian and introduces Paul to social contract theory, asking him how it might work for him, why it is necessary, and what happens when people don't use the social contract theory and work within it, to make the most of their lives.  On the other side of the argument is Sly, a young man who has returned home to his Harlem neighborhood after college to start a business that he believes will help people rise up out of poverty.  Sly doesn't buy social contract theory at all.  He thinks social contract theory is kept around by the privileged to keep the poor and minorities in poverty.
There is great deal for Paul to think about and thus, for the reader to contemplate as well. And any book that makes me think is a great one.  Great stuff, Mr. Myers.  Thank you again.

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