The Corner by David Simon & Edward Burns

"The Corner" Book Cover

One of the most frustratingly saddening and equally inspiring books I’ve ever read is “The Corner” by David Simon and Edward Burns. The non-fiction book follows the lives of residents near the corner of West Fayette and Monroe Streets in West Baltimore over the course of a year in the early 90’s. The authors lay bare how a history of poverty, crime, and drug addiction has torn apart the neighborhood, families, and individuals.

“The Corner” was adapted into a television miniseries for HBO. I watched the series before reading the book and it was actually very good. I’d recommend checking out the series but would also recommend reading the book for more depth and detailed explanations about the neighborhood and Baltimore’s history.

Children Underground

Children Underground

Documentaries with topics that are discussed from a distant and non-emotional perspective are easy to assess from a logical standpoint. However, when a documentary zooms in on specific individuals, families, communities, etc it suddenly becomes a lot more personal. Depending on the filmmakers’ approach, the narrow focus could result in the experiences of those individuals being felt more acutely or there can be a feeling of unease as a result of knowing that the plight and suffering of another human being is being displayed for your entertainment. My feelings straddled the fence a between those two points while watching Children Underground.