Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Troop 6000: The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World

Troop 6000 is a fact based history of a Girl Scout troop which began in a homeless/crisis shelter in NYC and the woman behind its genesis. Released 19th May 2020 by Penguin/Random House on their Ballantine imprint, it's 288 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a gripping and well told story about homelessness in the larger metropolitan areas of the USA (NYC specifically), interwoven with information about the Girl Scouts, and presented with an unflinching look at poverty, self-worth, and childhood. It's a potent cocktail and I wound up reading way past my bedtime on this one.

In addition to the biographical details about troop leader Giselle (who is mom to 3 of the girl scouts in the book) and the girls themselves, there is a fair bit of indepth information about generational poverty in the USA and ways the system is heavily weighted against success and escape. We're seeing even more clearly, with the current economic and pandemic crisis how metropolitan areas are being hit harder and more severely than the suburban and rural areas.

I was rooting for these girls and adults all the way through the book. Parts were heartwrenchingly sad to read. I also felt a lot of anger and bewilderment over a system which has the capacity to care humanely for its most vulnerable and chooses not to do so (although New York does a better job than most).

The writing is simple and direct. It's written in third person narrative as stories arranged roughly chronologically.  I read it straight through, as a novel, but it would also be a superlative support text for a classroom setting for related subjects: sociology, childhood development, race and gender studies, etc.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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