Suskind won a 1995 Pulitzer for feature writing for this story and its sequel. He later published a book: “A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League.” His story’s protagonist, Cedric, is a determined, ambitious 16-year-old who—by the end of the story and “against all odds”—gets accepted by an MIT summer program.

One of Suskind’s objectives is to show the mess that Cedric’s school and community are in and the effort it takes to surmount such problems. Suskind skillfully weaves background into the tale, instructing us in the troubles Cedric faces. Meanwhile, Cedric’s story follows a compelling narrative arc: Our hero is introduced, faces obstacles and prevails. But of course in real life, triumph is often short-lived; Cedric’s struggles continue at the MIT summer program, and Suskind chronicles them in the story’s sequel.

Read “Against All Odds

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