Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America
by C. Nicole Mason
Publication Date: Aug 16, 2016
List Price: $26.99
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Imprint: St. Martin’s Press
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group
“Standing on the stage, I felt exposed and like an intruder. In these professional settings, my personal experiences with hunger, poverty, and episodic homelessness, often go undetected. I had worked hard to learn the rules and disguise my beginning in life”
So begins C. Nicole Mason’s compelling memoir, Born Bright, which takes us on a rare insider’s journey deep into the lives of the women, men and families that make up the American Poor. Born in the late 1970s in Los Angeles, California, Mason was raised by a scrappy 16-year old single mother who dropped out of high school. Mason spent her childhood wondering where her next meal would come and learning the deadlines for college entrance exams by eavesdropping on the few white kids in her predominantly Black and Latino high school. She describes in vivid detail the chaos, failing systems, isolation and violence that make the American Dream out of reach for so many.
While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason exposes the uncomfortable presumption harbored by many—that the poor are not doing enough to help themselves. In truth, however, the convoluted, bureaucratic lattice of societal rules that govern everything from education to criminal justice is structurally impenetrable by the poor. With first-hand experience learning these rules for herself, Mason illuminates the sheer fortitude that it takes to navigate systems designed only for the success of the few.
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