Growing up in a mainly middle-class, white, suburban area of the Midwest, I don't know what it's like to be an African-American teen-ager walking the streets of Queens or Flushing, N.Y. I honestly have no clue what it might be like to live with your mother and grandmother in a run-down apartment complex, to get beat up after school by a bully who wants you to write love letters for him so he can impress girls or even to have the feeling that you want to escape from where you are so desperately that you lose a best friend over it. Even if I had read \Oliver Twist,"" I wouldn't know what it feels like to try to scrape together just enough money for groceries. Sometimes, however, I find a piece of literature that really speaks to me, a book that brings to life the things I don't know about in the world and impacts me in such a way that I feel I have a slightly better grasp of things than before.
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