Child abuse and poverty
The novel tells the story of a three-year-old African-American boy named Gerald and his drug-addicted mother, Monique, who is sent to jail after Gerald accidentally sets a fire in the apartment. Living with his generous aunt, Gerald’s mom shows up on his tenth birthday. On the same day Gerald loses his favorite aunt and his life becomes miserable when he has to live with his mother and his brutal stepfather Jordan. But one bright light sparks out: His half sister Angel, whom he tries to protect from Jordan. With Jordan finally being arrested, Gerald successfully joins the Hazelwood Tigers basketball team, and Angel follows her passion for dancing.
Apparently, Gerald painfully experiences the death of his best friend and old enemies show up. At the end of the story Gerald has to stand up against Jordan, protecting Angel from being raped. Desperately, he starts to fight Jordan, while another fire breaks out in the apartment...
Why should you read the book?
Sharon Draper received 1998 the Coretta Scott King Award with this second part of the Hazelwood High Trilogy. Even though “Forged by Fire” is the second book of the Trilogy, it has its own unique Story which does not require to read the first book “Tears of the Tiger” in order to understand the second one. Besides that, Sharon Draper portrayed the two main issues, poverty and child abuse, in such an unflinchingly realistic way that it will fascinate you!
Even for me, one who does not like reading at all, this book was written so well that I enjoyed reading this book. With its heartbreaking story about the child abuse and drugs use, I was completely stunned. Gerald is an inspiring character for those who can relate to his tragic circumstances. For me, it is painful to read about child abuse but Draper instills her point of view in such a hopeful and faithful way that is was impossible to stop. Furthermore, the book includes a lot of contrasts especially when you see the characters and a lot of plot twists that make this book incredibly fabulous. In my opinion it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Sheng Dag Quach