Reviewed by Stephen Williams
TAGS: Anthony D. Ross, homelessness, St. Augustine’s University, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, Sasha Bruce Network, Paul Brunson
Homeless at Age 13 to a College Graduate, by Anthony D. Ross, is a personal journey of heartache to triumph and all the struggles in between. We have all witnessed either personally, or in the media, the fallout that drugs have made in America. This epidemic is usually narrated in our media as tragic stories of hopelessness and continuing cycles of failure. Anthony’s story details that even under the weight of enormous challenges, hope and dedication can conquer all.
Anthony detailed his early years and the abuse he suffered at the hands of those to whom he looked toward for love, which included a drug-addicted, dysfunctional mother who showed little compassion for her son. His grandmother , who primarily raised him, was far more abusive than caring. When his grandmother died from heart disease, Anthony found himself shuffled from relative to relative (including a brief stint with his mother) and ultimately being rejected by them all. He finally ended up homeless, at the age of thirteen, after his mother tried to murder him and his sisters. Anthony survived by living in homeless shelters and cars. He finally caught the attention of Mr. Brown, a social worker, whose interest and compassion encouraged Anthony to continue his education despite being homeless. To his credit, Anthony never gave up; he rose above these early obstacles and committed to hard work and pursuit of a better life to rise above his pain. The road was not without bumps, yet he would not be denied his goal. After receiving his GED, he graduated from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, NC. He has since applied to law school. Anthony credited his early mentor, Paul Brunson; the Sasha Bruce Network; and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) as contributors to his pursuit of success.
The book was a good, inspiring read. It showed courage and determination even under the most grueling of circumstances. Readers will find themselves wanting him to succeed in life and fulfill his dream. The story was well divided into the different stages of his journey: childhood, homelessness, and college life. The book was paced well during the childhood years, with the author really painting the picture of pain and struggle. The one drawback to the book was that it seemed to move too fast or at a different pace once he got to college, only to abruptly end. This reviewer was left a bit confused and wanting more closure at the end of his college years. Also, none of characters stood out beyond their names because there were no characteristics or descriptions that helped to visualize the characters, which left the story a bit two-dimensional at times.
Anthony’s story touched on the continued importance for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to nurture and build future generations. The book also spoke to the humanity that exists within us, even when all seems lost. The story would have provided a greater overall impact had it included some background facts on the child population in homeless shelters, either in DC or in the USA as a whole; that would have helped emphasize that homelessness is a problem that exists, and still persists, among children and youth. This book would be recommended for teens and adults as a reminder of why education is important to accomplish goals and that while obstacles are cumbersome, they are not impossible.
Stephen Williams is an IT project manager in Atlanta, GA. He reads business journals and technical magazines to stay current on latest trends in technology & strategy. He is also passionate about photography.