2019 Common Read
The Thomas College Common Read is our invitation to join our academic community of individuals who share and explore ideas with each other.
After reading and reflecting on this year’s selection, we’d ask you to create a written response. During Fall Orientation, you will have an opportunity to discuss what you have written along with other students in your class.
The 2019 Common Read is:
A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League
by Ron Suskind
From the publisher’s website
A New York Times bestseller
The inspiring, true coming-of-age story of a ferociously determined young man who, armed only with his intellect and his willpower, fights his way out of despair.
In 1993, Cedric Jennings was a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate was well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boasted an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric had almost no friends. He ate lunch in a classroom most days, plowing through the extra work he asked for, knowing that he was really competing with kids from other, harder schools. Cedric Jennings’s driving ambition—which was fully supported by his forceful mother—was to attend a top college.
In September 1995, after years of near superhuman dedication, he realized that ambition when he began as a freshman at Brown University. But he didn’t leave his struggles behind. He found himself unprepared for college: he struggled to master classwork and fit in with the white upper-class students. Having traveled too far to turn back, Cedric was left to rely on his intelligence and his determination to maintain hope in the unseen—a future of acceptance and reward.
In this updated edition, A Hope in the Unseen chronicles Cedric’s odyssey during his last two years of high school, follows him through his difficult first year at Brown, and tells the story of his subsequent successes in college and the world of work. Eye-opening, sometimes humorous, and often deeply moving, A Hope in the Unseen weaves a crucial new thread into the rich and ongoing narrative of the American experience.