“My book, Reading with Patrick,Â is about a student of mine named Patrick, and this remarkable literary and intellectual awakening we experienced together in a county jail in Arkansas. He was a student in my class who was incredibly bright, really quiet, and just had trouble coming to school. I really encouraged him to come to school to write and to read and we had this incredible year together where he improved incredibly. Three years after this, Iâ€™ve left Arkansasâ€”itâ€™s a place where a lot of people leaveâ€”I agonize about it, I decide to go to law school. My parents are like, â€śwhat the heck are you doing in Arkansas?â€ť Three years later, Iâ€™m in law school and I find out from a friend that Patrick had gotten into a fight and killed someone. I was totally devastated. I was shocked. I went back to Arkansas to visit him in county jail and I discovered that his reading skills had regressed. They were worse when I first met him in the eighth grade, and itâ€™s because he had dropped out of school the year after I left the Delta. The heart of the book is really about us reading together in jail for seven months while weâ€™re waiting for his trial, and about the incredible agility and the power of reading together and writing together. And itâ€™s also about me grappling with my own failures and trying to think about the legacy of racism and poverty in the Mississippi Delta.”
Learn more aboutÂ Reading with Partick.