Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Format: ebook
Published by Crown on March 1st 2016
Pages: 432

Goodreads

From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

The rental market is rigged, it is especially so for the poor.  I don’t know how one of the most basic of necessities has become so abused.  Are there any reputable landlords out there, I think not, especially in poor communities.

The book follows eight families and two landlords experience with renting and renters in Milwaukee, it is not a pretty story.  We tend to forget the depth of poverty in this country.  The vacancy rate for cheap housing is in the single digits, it’s a landlords market and they know and exploit it.  Very sad, heart wrenching read, but also a necessary read.

 

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of TragedyA Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
Format: ebook
Published by Crown on February 15th 2016
Pages: 296

Goodreads

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives. For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently? These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts. Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent. Author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable foundations focusing on mental health issues

Sue Klebold is a brave woman and I have nothing but admiration for her.  She will always live with the fact that she missed something; something that was going terribly wrong with her son.

Simple truth is we really don’t know how one’s mind works, we don’t know what causes abnormalities in people’s minds.  There was something wrong with Dylan Klebold, we know that for sure. What we don’t know is if he had not met up with Eric Harris would he have done the things he did?  I believe that the chemistry between these two lead to this terrible tragedy.