THE PACT: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream

Sampson Davis, Author, George Jenkins, Joint Author, Rameck Hunt, Joint Author , George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt, with Lisa Frazier Page. Riverhead $24.95 (248p) ISBN 978-1-57322-216-7

Jenkins, Davis and Hunt grew up in and around the projects of Newark, N.J., a place decimated by crack. "The sounds of gunshots and screeching cars late at night and before dawn were as familiar to us as the chirping of insects must be to people who live in the country." The three attended high school together in the mid-'80s and made a pact to attend medical school together. "We didn't lock hands in some kind of empty, symbolic gesture... We just took one another at his word and headed back to class, without even a hint of how much our lives were about to change." Against incredible odds—the almost complete absence of male role models, a history of substance abuse in two of the families, and even incarcerations—the trio made good on their word and now practice medicine. Told in alternating first-person chapters, the story of these young men's struggle has remarkable clarity and insight. In extremely accessible prose, the authors articulate the problems they faced: "On the streets where I grew up, you didn't worry about consequences. If someone disrespected you, you beat his ass. Period," says Hunt; while Jenkins recalls, "Sometimes it felt surreal, walking past the drunks, dealers, and addicts on my way home from dental school with a pile of books." Although it is a memoir (which, by nature, is often self-serving), this book's agenda is far from hidden and its urgency is undeniable: through their pact, Davis, Jenkins and Hunt achieved success, and if they did it, others can, too. Agent, Joann Davis. (May 13)

Forecast:Books about male friendship are rare. This fills the void nicely, and should be a strong seller, especially among African-American readers.

Reviewed on: 04/22/2002
Release date: 05/01/2002
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