Recap: San Francisco

When I was writing Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, I could not possibly have imagined it would get the reaction it did from readers, or that it would be used in such varied classrooms as post-colonial North African literature and high school English. On Friday, I went to give a reading at Mercy High School, where the entire class of 600 students had read my book for the fall. What surprised me was how much and well the book was integrated into the curriculum. In drama class, students teased out personality traits for each of the main characters in my novel; in literature class, they looked for simile, metaphor, and other figures of speech; in French class, they translated some key quotes from the book; in ceramics class, they looked for Moroccan designs and used them to create artifacts, and they also chose scenes from some of the stories and recreated them in clay. Students were very familiar with the book by the time I came to read from it, and being in that auditorium with so many teenagers was truly one of the most fun experiences I have had on the road.