Thorpe Discusses “Just Like Us” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Thorpe Discusses “Just Like Us”

As the culminating event of this year’s Community Read program, Helen Thorpe, author of the highly-acclaimed book “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America,” will discuss the book on Monday, March 4, at Hobart and William Smith. The greater Geneva community is invited to join members of the Colleges and the Geneva Read’s community as Thorpe discusses the non-fiction account of four teenage girls in Colorado. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Albright Auditorium.

Referred to as “One of the best books of 2009” by the Washington Post and “meticulously observant” by The New Yorker, “Just Like Us” has been critically well-received. It is a nonfiction narrative set in Denver, where Thorpe is First Lady, and juxtaposes her life with that of four Mexican American girls as they transition from youth into adulthood. As two have legal status, they go on to learn to drive, work, open bank accounts and acquire financial aid for college as their two friends without documentation cannot.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of “The Tipping Point,” “Blink” and “Outliers,” wrote, “Just Like Us beautifully and powerfully reminds us of the individuals whose lives lie at the center of the chaos that is our approach to immigration. Helen Thorpe has taken policy and turned it into literature.”

Thorpe is a freelance journalist whose magazine stories have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York, George, Texas Monthly and The New Yorker. The daughter of Irish parents, she was born in London, she grew up in Medford, N.J., and is a graduate of Princeton University.  She was on the board and helped establish an exemplary Head Start program at Clayton EduCare in Denver, which offers early childhood education services to low-income children and their families. A stage adaptation of “Just Like Us” has been commissioned by the Denver Center Theatre Company.

This is the fifth year of the Community Read program in Geneva.

Also in celebration of  and preparation for Community Reads month in March, the College Store will host Books and Brunch on Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which includes 20 percent off storewide. Copies of the books that are part of this year’s Community Read also will be available for a discounted price during that time.

On Saturday April 13, the annual Book Fest will take place at the Geneva Community Center. Additional information on Geneva Reads is available online.

The photo above features John Cromartie, the administrator of the Geneva Center of Finger Lakes Community College.