Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Tutored

Synopsis: Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.

My Review: I went into Tutored expecting it to be a quick read with a nice short litte story.  Essentially that's what I got.  It is one of the few "real life teen" books I've read in awhile, and I found it kinda nice.  It wasn't particularly thought provoking, or unsettling, or at all amazing.  Just a nice story with some good life lessons. 

I really enjoyed Wendy's POV and found her really relatable.  She is literally the nicest and most caring MC I have ever come across.  She always puts others before herself and I find her compassion and willingness to do things for others very admirable.  I've never really been much for volunteer work, so it's amazing to me that Wendy does so much of it.  I would never volunteer to tutor those who are seeking their GED.  Heck I wouldn't tutor at all, unless it was for a friend.  Wendy genuinely wants to help people, not because she has to, or it's expected of her, but because she wants to.  She wants to be a doctor and you can tell that it's not for the paycheck.  I have a feeling she would be in Somalia or seeing patients for free.  She has that big of a heart.  While she is caring, she's not a push over.  In the case of Hakiam, she will only provide help if he puts forth his own effort to become successful.  She doesn't take any shit from anyone and is one tough cookie herself. 

Hakiam has a led a troubled life and he's just 17.  I can't imagine going through the crap he's gone through in one lifetime, much less my own 17 years.  Losing a sibling, being abandoned, tossed from foster home to foster home, and ultimately taking a bus to a new city hundreds of miles away.  Desperate times usually call for desperate measures, but Hakiam can't bring himself to steal like he used to.  Touched by Wendy's generosity and the fact that she really cares about his situation, he tries to better himself.  He's staying at his cousin's apartment and in return he looks after her premature baby girl.  While he may not be the brightest bulb, for instance lighting up right next to the baby, he still has a kind heart and truly cares for her. 

Hakiam and Wendy couldn't be more different, yet they surprisingly connect with each other.  It's hard to describe, but in essence they just "get" one another.  There is really nothing more to it than that.  Wendy doesn't expect Hakiam to change, and vice versa.  They simply accept each other for who they are, and a nice relationship starts to take shape.  There are some nice life lessons to be learned as well, but that message is likely to change for different individuals so I won't share.  Ultimately Tutored was a quick read that can be enjoyed by a wide audience.