The Diary of Latoya Hunter

The Diary of Latoya Hunter

4.0 5
by Latoya Hunter
     
 
The innermost thoughts of a 12-year-old girl as she experiences her first year at a junior high school in the Bronx. Latoya's voice rings through the despair that surrounds much of public education in America today, reminding readers of the vulnerability, humanity, and potential talent of the children who depend upon it for so much. Line drawings.

Overview

The innermost thoughts of a 12-year-old girl as she experiences her first year at a junior high school in the Bronx. Latoya's voice rings through the despair that surrounds much of public education in America today, reminding readers of the vulnerability, humanity, and potential talent of the children who depend upon it for so much. Line drawings.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While attending P.S. 94 in the Bronx, Hunter was praised by a teacher for her ``incredible writing talent,'' a comment that found its way into a New York Times profile of the elementary school. This led Crown editor Richard Marek to ask Hunter to keep a diary describing her first year in junior high. Unfortunately, the Jamaican-born 12-year-old's entries lack a distinctive voice and syntax, possibly as a result of overzealous editing, although an editor's note states that ``every word in this diary is Latoya's.'' Teenagers may enjoy reading about Hunter's struggles to adapt to parental edicts, a new school, romance and other adolescent problems, but adults will find little of interest in this short journal. Hunter is most interesting and moving when she describes her painful efforts to come to grips with the urban violence around her. ( Sept. )
The ALAN Review - Richard F. Abrahamson
Her sixth-grade teacher praised Latoya Hunter's writing ability. An editor read the teacher's comments, and Latoya Hunter had a book contract. Latoya's diary chronicles her seventh-grade year at JHS 80 in the Bronx. She recounts the pleasures and strengths that come from being a part of an extended family, the joys of becoming an aunt, and the ups and downs of first love. Along with the emotional peaks and valleys that come with adolescence, Latoya details the grim realities of urban life in the 90s. In describing her Bronx world of dirty streets and graffiti, she writes, "The only colors I see are brown and grey-dull colors." She is propositioned by a middle-aged man holding up money as a lure. Her sleep is broken by the sounds of gun shots and the horror of finding that her neighbor has just been killed. Teen readers will recognize themselves in Latoya's words. They'll also recognize a world not just found in the Bronx.
Ilene Cooper
Diaries always make for interesting reading, and this chronicle of a seventh-grade year is no exception. Twelve-year-old Latoya Hunter attends J.H.S. 80 in the Bronx, where she's one of the bright kids, eager to get on to college and into the world. Despite her dreams, Hunter is firmly rooted in the everyday, and for an almost-teenager that means boys, friends, and family. Though her first, tentative reaching out to boys is central, it is mostly family that makes up Hunter's world: her unmarried sister and the sister's new baby, her brothers and their girlfriends, even the extended family in Jamaica whom Latoya goes to visit. The relationship that comes into focus most clearly, however, is the one with her mother. In Latoya's portrait, Mrs. Hunter worries excessively about grades and keeping her daughter safe--little wonder in a neighborhood where grocery store owners get shot and schoolmates are taken to jail for fighting with each other. Throughout, the short entries brim with life. And as in Anne Frank's diary, it is the commonplace that takes precedence, despite the horrors; readers will appreciate Hunter's ability to juxtapose the two, just as so many young people must do. She writes in one entry how she worries that she may be killed in a drive-by shooting. Two days later, her preoccupation is with her good day in gym: "We played soccer, and my team won 8 to 2. We are good!"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517585115
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/08/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
131

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