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21 April 2010

Book Review: Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
by Paul Tough 


It's hard to separate the ballsy experiment of the Harlem Chidren's Zone, to which I would give 5 stars for effort and innovation, from the book detailing some of the stories, to which I give 3 stars because I didn't think it provided adequate coverage or information.  Paul Tough tries to tell too many stories so he ends up telling too many stories not so well. The organization of the book is troubling, flipping back and forth between Canada's youth, Canada's work-in-progress and Canada's work-completed in a way that was disjunct and distracting.

Style-wise, Mr. Tough writes in an accessible prose and keeps his footnote-able type facts to a minimum, which makes it more light-reading-esque.


And maybe that's what I didn't like about it. Tough didn't dig. He wrote, in effect, eleven fluffy newspaper features.


And I wanted more.


I am a fan of Geoffrey Canada and his vision for the future of our children in America. I look forward to seeing what he will do next.