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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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  • Published in USA  Jan 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 31 member reviews
for At the Edge of the Haight
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  • Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
    Good Description of Problem; No Solution
    The causation, description of the homeless lifestyle, and the challenges associated with the problem of homelessness were beautifully defined in the body of the story of Maddy and her friends. Unfortunately, after presenting the reader with an appealing storyline, the author left the ending with many loose ends that were still untied. This could have been a great book which opened a dialogue for society. However, the author seemed at a loss for answers to a problem which is both heartbreaking and destructive to an ever growing segment of our population.
  • Sylvia T. (Rancho Mirage, CA)
    At The Edge of The Haight
    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. Kudos to the author. She successfully touches on several volatile issues that homeless deal with every day. While many books promise to give readers an insider's view, the author Katherine Seligman artfully avoids warning against bad choices, bad parenting, and a bad society. 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.
  • Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)
    How hard it is when you aren't "normal"
    I thought this was a very interesting way to tell about the homeless crisis. I am glad she told about teens and young adults rather than veterans, alcoholics and extremely mentally ill people. Each group will be very different from the others. I did feel it gave me insight into why they do not take offers of help from a lot of services and opportunities.

    For every offer given there is an expectation from the person doing the offering. Sometimes the homeless person is not able to live up to the expectation and other times they don't want to. There is always the underlining fact that they can't be themselves and they will not be loved for themselves. Society wants to put them into a mold of a model citizen.

    I believe all of the characters either have a learning disability or a mild form of mental illness. They feel they have failed their parents and or teachers and do not want to set themselves up for another failure. They all want to be loved by their parents; but it is hard for them to realize their parents aren't capable of being a parent or of loving them because the parent has so many problems.

    I liked the non-judgemental way the author presented this. It was heartening to see there are some very kind people; such as store owners who allowed them to browse or hang out in front of their businesses.

    There are no easy answers and a lot of these young people are not capable of holding a 9 to 5 job or following a rigid curriculum.
  • Sherilyn R. (St George, UT)
    Life on the edge.
    Katherine Seligman's book "At the edge of the Haight" is a thoroughly engrossing and thought provoking story about Maddie, her dog Root (one of my favorite characters) and the friends who have become her family while living on the streets in San Francisco.

    The book is both a coming of age story and a mystery. It is at times tender, hostile and violent. It makes one feel the anxiety, fear and utter tediousness of life on the street.

    Seligman has given us a taught, well written story with an interesting plot and well developed characters.

    I enjoyed reading this book as it gave me an entree into the world of the homeless. While I am more empathetic as a result of reading this book, I have to say it did not increase my understanding of why anyone would choose this lifestyle if other options were open to them.

    I would recommend this book to older young adults and the general public. It would make a great book for discussing in a book club.
  • Carol R. (North Mankato, MN)
    A Glimpse Into Another World
    Everyone has a story, even those nameless homeless people we like to pretend we don't see. I was drawn in to this book and Maddy's story. Her path to homelessness is probably similar to most and includes parenting failures, poverty, drug abuse and lack of a support system. I found myself wondering why anyone living on the street would not accept help or a path out. I really wanted Maddy to find her voice. This book will stick with me for a long time to come. Most of all, I want to know where Maddy is now...I wanted her to find her way out.
  • Connie L. (Bartlesville, OK)
    At the Edge of Survival
    "How does it feel to be on your own - with no direction home?" - Bob Dylan
    The book gives a glimpse of the homeless life, as we get to know a small group of young people loosely banded together to survive on the streets of San Francisco. They intermittently cling to one another, but their friendships are fragile because they are wounded, haunted and hampered by their pasts.
    I was engaged and fascinated, learning about a life completely outside my own experience. It struck me soundly, seeing the tragic effects of parental dysfunction and disintegration on their children's lives.
    The story was made believable to me, but it was a bit disjointed, and I wish the characters had been drawn with more depth.
    Seligman shows a different world than most of us inhabit, and gives "living on the edge" a jarring new meaning. Reading At the Edge of Survival gave me new insight, and I value it for that reason.
  • Peggy A. (Fairfax, VA)
    At the Edge of the Haight
    Why would a young person choose to live as a homeless person?

    At age 18 Maddy Donaldo went to San Francisco to live on the streets and parks of Haight/Ashbury. Along with others she met she begs for money and eats out of garbage cans. She sleeps in shelters, on the ground in the park, in abandoned houses or store doorways during summer heat and cold rainy winters.

    I liked this book and would recommend it as an eye opener to the struggles of the homeless and how they deal with life; one day at a time.

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