They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood by Sugar Rodgers

If you are looking for a book for reluctant readers – this is it. If they won’t read this book, they won’t read anything.  It is a fascinating story, very well told. Here are a few random snapshots.

Sugar Rogers spent part of her childhood homeless. Her house was condemned by police, as her mother lay bedridden and dying inside it. She says she doesn't like going to parties growing up, because someone always ends up getting shot. Her friends convince her to go to one and, sure enough, shooting starts. As she lays in the backyard, pinned down by gunfire, she thinks to herself, “who brings a machine gun to a party?” 

Much later, once she is playing basketball professionally, a coach suggests she go to therapy. She says, “therapy is for white people!” Nevertheless, eventually she goes and concedes it is helpful. She cries a lot. She looks up at one point and her therapist is crying too! She wonders, “are they supposed to do that?”

Ms. Rogers succeeds despite terrible personal loses. Before she’s finished school, her nephew (more like a brother), is shot and killed, her aunt and brother go to jail and both her parents die. And yet she finds humour and positive lessons everywhere. Ms. Rogers has a warm and charismatic voice and a lot of wisdom to share. Her ultimate success is one of the most emotional reading experiences I’ve ever had. 

Beyond these endorsements, let me say there are a few good tests of a book. One is the number of times you want to share parts of it. While reading this book, I mentioned something from it so often, that at one point my husband suggested that I should just read the book out loud to him. (Sadly, he was joking.) This book feels like Ms. Rogers is talking to you. Please read it, to hear what she has to say.

YA Non-Fiction pr6154909

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