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At the Edge of the Haight

by Katherine Seligman

At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman X
At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 19, 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 20 member reviews
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  • Veronica E. (Chesterton, IN)
    A Walk in the Park
    What made me pick this book was the word HAIGHT in the title. Reason, I did some growing up in the 1960s in the Bay area. Loved going to Golden Gate Park and visiting the Haight Ashbury district. My parents were very worried that I might run away. Little did they know that I had no intentions of running away. I was loved and taken very well care of by my family. But curiosity did get the best of me and I would go into the City often. AT THE EDGE OF THE HAIGHT was very well written. I fell right inside this book and walked the steps of Maddy and her friends. You can feel their feelings about living on the streets, sleeping in the park. How people reacted to their way of life. It is a fast read full of love, hope and friendship, but the story also tells you why these kids end up on the streets...abuse, hatred, drugs, no where to go...
  • Anl
    Great read
    I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. The author does an excellent job of describing the life of the homeless from their perspective. Her characters are believable; some more likable than others. The plot is simple and straightforward - not too many characters or issues. And there is no opinion or judgement on a polarizing issue. I read an advance copy and almost did not request it over concern of an author trying to form my opinion. Kudos to the author. She successfully touches on several volatile issues that homeless deal with every day. I put this author on my list to read more that she writes in the future.
  • Rebecca R. , Western USA
    Realistic and Empathetic Without Being Judgmental
    I understand why this book was the winner of The Pen/Bellwether prize for socially engaged fiction. First person narrator Madlynne (only 20 years old) has a life of homelessness, living on the streets of San Francisco. Sadly, she was pointed in that direction starting with her mother's mental illness followed by an uncaring foster home where food was strictly rationed and things like cookie packages were marked so that no child could take another cookie.

    While many books promise to give readers an insider's view of name the situation or social program, author Katherine Seligman artfully avoids warning against bad choices, bad parenting, or bad society while also avoiding the over-glamorization of this alternative lifestyle. Instead, this novel empathetically pulls the reader into a realistic portrayal of homelessness and dumpster diving for food, along with sorrows of families who have lost someone to life on the streets. I don't think I will ever drive or walk by another homeless person without thinking of this book. I have always supported local, national, and international aid programs, but this book made me feel the relief of those homeless people who are able to grab a sweatshirt from a free clothing bin on a cold morning or who are grateful for some food that they can also share with their dog. Thank you to BookBrowse and Algonquin Books for the ARC.
  • Barbara B. (Evansville, IN)
    Fictional Account of Homelessness in San Francisco
    The dire homeless life of 20-year-old Maddy Donaldo is depicted very honestly and vividly in the novel At The Edge of the Haight, written by Katherine Seligman. Why do young people choose to live such a careless and rough lifestyle when they are given opportunities to improve their lives? This is the most important theme throughout the novel.

    There is a pecking order among the homeless population in and near the Golden Gate Park of San Francisco. Maddy and her friends Ash, Fleet, and Hope rely upon one another to avoid being victims of theft. But crime and drugs still touch their lives. Maddy and her dog, Root, casually encounter a teenage murder victim in the park. Her life is forever impacted by the gruesome discovery.
  • John W. (Saint Louis, MO)
    Life on the Street - A Young Girl's Perspective
    As a previous foster parent this story brought back sad memories of true stories foster children have shared. Maddy experiences the horror of some children when she is part of the system designed to protect children - food rationed, children locked in their rooms, etc. by foster parents that are only in the role for the money.

    I found the author's portrayal of life on the street from dumpster diving, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, scamming for money, etc. consistent from these children's stories.

    I highly recommend this book.
  • Louise E. (Ocean View, DE)
    A Glimpse
    This story gives you a glimpse into what homelessness is like for young adults. The characters need to be developed more and the story needs to be fleshed out more. It was interesting to see that some businesses are friendly to homeless people because most do not want anything to do with them.

    By the end of the story I was wondering what it would take for these young people to turn themselves around – have a home, get a job, marry, and raise a family. There is a movement in the United States to find a permanent place to live first then get them the services they need.

    You can learn a lot about a topic reading fiction, and this is no different. It is a worthwhile read for someone who would like to learn about homelessness.
  • Gina V. (Mesa, AZ)
    Captivating and frustrating
    This book definitely left me with more questions than answers. I know very little about teenage homelessness, so this was very interesting and thought-provoking. I had a difficult time understanding the kids' aversion to being helped and their reasons for leaving home. It seems as though there are no easy answers to this mountainous problem. I have a feeling this book will stay with me for a long time. It would make a great book club read.
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