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The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Cover of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
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An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young...
An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young...
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  • An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young African-American man who escaped Newark, NJ, to attend Yale, but still faced the dangers of the streets when he returned is, "nuanced and shattering" (People) and "mesmeric" (The New York Times Book Review).
    When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert's life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn't get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.

    A compelling and honest portrait of Robert's relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It's about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It's about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all this "fresh, compelling" (The Washington Post) story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and "a haunting American tragedy for our times" (Entertainment Weekly).
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Jeff Hobbs graduated with a BA in English language and literature from Yale in 2002, where he was awarded the Willets and Meeker prizes for his writing. He is the author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and The Tourists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 28, 2014
    A man with seemingly every opportunity loses his way in this compelling biographical saga. Novelist Hobbs (The Tourists) chronicles the life of Peace, who was born in a Newark, N.J., ghetto to an impoverished single mom and a father who went to prison for murder. Thanks to his mother's sacrifices and his extraordinary intellect he went to Yale and got a biology degree but when he returned to Newark after college, he became a drug dealer and was eventually shot to death by rivals. Writing with novelistic detail and deep insight, Hobbs, who was Peace's roommate at Yale, registers the disadvantages his friend faced while avoiding hackneyed fatalism and sociology. Hobbs reveals a man whose singular experience and charisma made him simultaneously an outsider and a leader in both New Haven and Newark. Peace was a pillar of his family and community, superbly capable in both settings, but he could not reconcile their conflicting demands. (The author's indelible portrait of Peace's inner-city neighborhood shows how it could draw him back from the world his talent and education had opened.) This is a classic tragedy of a man who, with the best intentions, chooses an ineluctable path to disaster. Photos.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2014

    Hobbs (The Tourists) reconstructs the life and thoughts of Rob Peace--his close friend and roommate for four years at Yale University--after his friend's untimely death. Peace left Newark, NJ, to study biochemistry and biophysics at Yale and become a teacher in his hometown yet unexpectedly fell victim to the drug trade. Hobbs uses creative nonfiction to re-create conversations and events in Peace's life. The resulting portrait of Peace is nuanced, contradictory, elusive, and probing, with the author almost deifying his deceased friend. Hobbs is honest about his own shortcomings and addresses the difficulties he had overcoming the class and racial differences between himself and Peace. At its core, the story compels readers to question how much one can really know about another person. Peace seems to step in and out of focus as Hobbs sees him through the eyes of one companion after another. Heavily detailed, this title brings to mind memoirs such as Cupcake Brown's A Piece of Cake, if her story had been told by her very skilled novelist roommate. VERDICT An intelligent, provocative book, recommended for any biography lover. [See Prepub Alert, 3/3/14.]--Jessica Spears, Monroe Coll. Lib., Bronx, NY

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Scribner
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The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
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