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On the Outside Looking In

This is a hard-to-characterize book, On the Outside Looking In, — personalized sociology and blunt reportage in equal measure — but then again, so are its major players: drug dealers, gang members, and parents, all in their tender teens. New York Daily News alum Rathbone had never talked to an inner-city kid before she plunked herself down in Gotham’s notoriously neglected West Side High School classrooms for a yearlong crash course on the subject. The raw, slightly out-of-breath account that emerges is no Dangerous Minds, to be sure: There are few happy endings and even fewer proffered solutions. Perhaps that’s why it stays in your thoughts. A-

On the Outside Looking In
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