Saturday, May 7, 2011
No Way Out by Peggy Kern
Harold was a bit overweight, his grandmother had just taken a horrible fall that put her in the hospital for a few days, and his fear of having to move due to the state taking over the situation is just a little bit too much for this high school student to endure. Thankfully, Mr. Harris (a neighbor who lived in the same apartment complex) stepped in to help. Mr. Harris allowed Harold to live with him a few days while his grandmother was seeking medical attention.
His grandmother comes home from the hospital but Harold is left to care for her. He had to change her bandages, make dinner now (as his grandmother tried to assist from her chair), and continue to go to school and do the homework.
One day Harold caught a glimpse of the bills that were stacking up, and unfortunately he got a glimpse of the notice from the state saying that unless his grandmother acknowledged a next-of-kin on the papers that they sent, Harold would have to be placed in a foster home by the state. He knew he had to do something to help, but he also knew that his grandmother would not agree on him getting a job. He took a chance anyway and got a job at the Supermarket.
Harold's first check came in and when he opened it he realized that even with his help he could not make a dent in the bills that continued to come in the mail. He decided to take Londell James, the local drug deal who had been in and out of jail, up on his offer to run drugs for him. He knew this was wrong, but he convinced himself that he had to do this for his grandmother.
One day, while delivering, he saw a family who was involved. Harold just couldn't believe what had come of him, and he wanted out. He realized he was so caught up in the business, that now there was NO WAY OUT.
Thankfully, Mr. Harris came to his rescue. He was able to call the police just in time, and Londell was taken away again.
The book was entertaining. It kept me interested, but it was a little too basic for me. However, many of my middle and high school students enjoy it. They actually gave me the recommendation.
The author Peggy Kern was born and raised in Westbury, New York. She was one of the few white students in a predominately black and Latino community. She attended LaSalle University where she discovered literature and writing. No Way Out was her first Bluford book.