A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A remarkable story about the power of friendship.
Chosen by Essence to be among the forty most influential African Americans, the three doctors grew up in the streets of Newark, facing city life’s temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attaining that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day—they are all doctors.
This is a story about joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most... together.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
George Jenkins, Sampson Davis, and Rameck Hunt grew up together in Newark and graduated from Seton Hall University. Davis and Hunt received their medical degrees from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Jenkins received his dentistry degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry. The three doctors are the recipients of the Essence Lifetime Achievement Award. All three continue to live in Newark.
Lisa Frazier Page is a national award-winning writer for The Washington Post.
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Table of Contents
1. Dreaming Big
4. Common Ground
6. A Big Break
George on Peer Pressure
8. Summer Odyssey
9. Earth Angel
10. A Different World
Rameck on Giving Back
13. Access Med
14. Old Ties
16. Becoming Doctors
Sam on Perseverance
19. Home Again
What People are Saying About This
"This is truly a life-changing book, one that shows that anything is possible...with a little help from our friends."James McBride, author of The Color of Water and Miracle at St. Anna
"A powerful message of hope."Dallas Morning News
"Gripping, courageous, and inspiring."Philadelphia Inquirer
"After you've read it, pass it on...The Pact is a book that should never end up on a shelf because it is probably the most important book for African-American families that has been written since the protest era...Besides their personal stories, the doctors share practical steps that can be useful to a circle of friends in making their own pact...Get The Pact. It just may change a teen's future."Chicago Sun-Times
"They are an inspiration to young people everywhere, and their message is one that can transform the world."Billy Cosby
Great book! — Frank Rich, NY Times
Reading Group Guide
They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hung are not only friends to this day—they are all doctors.
This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt grew up in broken homes in Newark, New Jersey, and both Davis and Hunt served time in juvenile detention centers. They enrolled in Seton Hall University's pre-med program together, and today Hunt is a physician at Robert Wood Johnson University of Medicine and Dentistry and Davis is an emergency medicine physician at Newark's Beth Israel Medical Center.
"A powerful message of hope."—Dallas Morning News
"Gripping, courageous, and inspiring."—Philadelphia Enquirer
"After you've read it, pass it on...The Pact is a book that should never end up on a shelf because it is probably the most important book for African-American families that has been written since the protest era...Besides their personal stories, the doctors share practical steps that can be useful to a circle of friends in making their own pact...Get The Pact. It just may change a teen's future."—Chicago Sun-Times
"They are an inspiration to young people everywhere, and their message is one that can transform the world."—Bill Cosby
- "How can a mother's pleas compete with the thrill of having wads of cash handed to you when your pockets are empty and the pantry is bare?" Sam writes (p.53) "Sure, you see cats your age dying all the time, but you figure that's the price you pay for being born poor. And you accept your fate, unless someone or something convinces you that you have the power to change the script." Discuss the narrators' success in the context of this statement. Who or what provided that "someone or something" for these three boys?
- The narrators cite role models as huge influences on their lives. Discuss how Mr. Jackson, Miss Johnson, Reggie, and Carla affected George, Sam, and Rameck. Do you think individuals are encouraged to take on leadership roles in troubled communities? Why or why not?
- How did family relationships influence these boys' lives? What stands out about each of their childhood experiences at home?
- Each of the narrators describes a turning point at which specific decisions or choices—to turn away from certain friends, to never return to jail, to study harder—changed the course of their lives. Are such moments recognizable only in hindsight? Do you think that shaping the events of your life into a story would influence the importance you placed on specific events? Discuss.
- Peer pressure plays an enormous role in the lives of young people in every circumstance. How did it play into Sam, George, and Rameck's lives? What drew them together and what kept their "pact" alive?
- Rameck's grandmother tries to teach him a tough lesson when she takes back the money she's lent him for portfolio pictures because she found out that his mother used it to pay the utility bill. "You can't help nobody till you help yourself," she tells him. Do you agree with her philosophy? What do you think Rameck took away from that experience?
- Education is at the center of this success story. But teachers like Miss Johnson, who nurtured and inspired George, were less prevalent than those who "...just didn't know how to reach us and didn't seem to care. They expected and accepted mediocrity or less, and unfortunately, we usually gave no more." Why do you think George felt this way? To what degree are teachers—and students—to blame for this situation? Does the book suggest any ways to improve the system?
- If the EOP program that gave these three young men a chance at college—and the hundreds of other programs like it—didn't exist, do you think they would have succeeded anyway? Why or why not?
- George ends the book sitting at his desk watching teenagers outside, wondering: "Where are their parents? Where are the cops?"—though he adheres to the unwritten code of the streets, of course, and doesn't call them—and finally, "Where are our young leaders to show the kids something different from what they see around here?" Has this book changed the way in which you'd answer those questions?
- After reading this book, what do you conclude is required to enable other young people in rough environments to achieve? Who is ultimately responsible for providing those opportunities? The individual? The family? The state?
- "We hope our story will also demonstrate that anyone with enough compassion has the power to transform and redirect someone else's troubled life," the doctors write in their introduction. Have they succeeded? Can you identify ways to take up that challenge in your own community?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
this book was really incredible it was as the discription says a story of perseverence and the will to better off their condition great great book loved it
In 1989, when three boys were just 16, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins, the boys made a promise to each other to attend college, Seton Hall University, and later become doctors. George first thought about becoming a dentist at 11. When the boys was growing up they lacked the benefit of a male role model at home. Growing up was tough, but growing up in Newark, a city ranked one of the worst places in the country was even tougher. Especially for a young black man. After testing into Newark's University High School, the three decided to apply, upon George's urging. They promised to help each other through school and make sure that none of them became another statistic. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attaining that dream. The three are not only friends to this day, they are all doctors.
very inspirational, it touched me in a great way. the stories come to life as you read it, i recommend this book for every growing teenager; male or female
While I'm often a sucker for a love story this beautifully demonstrates the love of friends & more importantly the love parents hold for their children. Great suspense & the emotion roller coaster a good book can strap you in to & make you want to ride again.
the pact was a book that inspired me to do better in school and persued my dreams.it showed me that there is more to life than the street and those who you consider your friends.it allowed me to see that being in the street and following the worng person isnt the best waii to happiness and yet it would get you into lots of trouble.i personally felt like i was one of the characters myself and i was happy to see how they succeed and so can i. i would have loved to met them myself and thank them so making such and inspirational book.
I have a friend who hates reading. I left the book at her house 'after I finished it of course' and one day she was so bored so she picked it up and read it. She loved it so much that she wanted another book. After 24 years this book finally turned her on to reading. That said, you can only imagine how good this book is. Also, I hate love stories. This is not a typical love story. I loved this book.
I was so impressed by the strong storytelling as well as by the story itself. These men are amazing role models for all young people - not just minorities. I am getting a set for my classroom and including it in the curriculum for my multicultural class. It reminds me of the saying 'Inspiration is 99% perspiration.'
The Pact is a story of three young men making a promise to themselves and each other to escape the troubles of their hometown of Newark. Sam, George, and Rameck were young men who had a dream to get out of the ghetto and do something with their lives. From a young age they all were surrounded by the temptations of the dealing drugs for money and the dangers of being hurt everyday by the people around them. With families that weren't always capable of taking care of them they still set high goals for themselves to become doctors. Their families were poor, not there, or even had drug addictions, but they still worked through that. It's an inspirational story, appealing to all young people that there is always hope to succeed if you work your hardest. Growing up in such a rough environment made them realize from a young age what they would have to do to survive. They understood that if they stayed in the ghetto they would most likely end up living poor or being killed. As teenagers they applied themselves and were able to all get into schools for the gifted children. Making ends meet and working their hardest they set an example of how you aren't a product of your environment but a person with free will. This book made me understand what kind of hardships that other people go through just to make it by on a daily basis. To hear the story of these men helps create a vivid image of what many people lived in their childhood and what people live in now. Sam, George and Rameck are men that give hope to the children who thought they had no way of ever getting out of the ghetto and being their own person. It shows that the American Dream can become a reality to anyone who chooses to wake up and create it themselves. I highly recommend this book it was very easy to read and kept me interested throughout the whole novel. If you don't read it I suggest that you still try to understand that you can always achieve what your mind perceives.
This book is full of inspiration and also full of determination,it was great.
Posted April 8,2009 9:20 AM EST: Jodi Picoult can really make a teenager depressed! This book made me feel upset because the main characters, Emily and Chris, were really close and one of them ends up dead. I was left wondering about a few things and wishing that it ended with more definite answers. When you finish the novel you feel you're missing details of the actual scene of the crime. You wouldn't think this would happen to two families that seem to have had such perfect lives. Throughout the whole novel about solving the mystery and it kept me wanting to turn the pages to see if Chris ends up being guilty. I felt so sorry for both Emily and Chris because Emily ids dead and Chris, who loved her, was accused of the murder.
I read this book over the weekend and it moved me to action to share the book and get involved with young men in my community. The story is an easy read that draws you into their lives, struggles to stay on track and successes. I cried, laughed and rejoiced with each of them. Thank you to the 3 doctors for sharing your story.