Hope: A Memoir

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Germain moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, from Haiti when he was As recounted in his memoir, A Stone of Hope , he and his brothers and sister were raised by their father. Jim was under the impression that America would look like the movie Home Alone. They all crowded into several rooms, some sleeping on the floor. Outside the apartment, Jim tried his best to assimilate into American culture and to escape poverty. He shoveled snow, swept up hair at a barber shop, and washed and pressed shirts for a cleaning business in an unventilated basement.

Although he never joined a gang, almost all his friends were Crips and seemed to make way more money than him doing illegal stuff. In 8th grade, Jim decided to go for the better money: by selling weed, using counterfeit bills, and stealing.

An excerpt from Hope Solo’s “A Memoir of Hope”

One of the older guys from the neighborhood, Frank, nicknamed him Buffet, after Warren Buffet, a Wall Street investor. During the court dates that followed, Christine looked out for Jim. If there was a long wait to see the judge, she gave him money for food and then for the train ride home. When I was a kid in family court, my lawyer gave me snacks and books to read while we waited, and a MetroCard to get home.

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Through the chaos in the court building, I appreciated her kind actions towards me. Christine got the judge to drop the case, but Jim went back to doing what he knew. At 15, he was arrested again, this time for selling crack. He faced up to seven years in prison.

After Jim got locked up again, his family cut off all ties with him. Christine managed to get him placed into Boys Town, an alternative to incarceration program in Brooklyn that housed young offenders in a home-like setting in an attempt to change their lives around. The brownstone happened to be only a few subway stops away from his grandparents, though in a much wealthier neighborhood, Park Slope.

Between six and 12 young men lived there under the supervision of Damon and Iza Canada. A few other staff came in during the day. Staff added and subtracted points for good and bad behavior from a card that each boy carried with him at all times. Points were how privileges were determined. Looking back, he sees how it worked for the boys.

The lining up, the constant asking of permission, the overly proper way we had to speak, especially towards authority figures. It was like a boot camp for my behavior.

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Christine introduced Jim to another mentor, the deputy attorney in her office, Marty. All Programs. See All Programs.


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The Outskirts of Hope: A Memoir of the 1960s Deep South

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Enter the terms you wish to search for. She Writes Press, April, Selected Editorial Reviews. This is a sensitive and powerful memoir of racial change in the South in the s.