(CBS Local)– Author Jeff Hobbs has always been interested in writing about college and people unlike him. In his last book “Show Them You’re GoodHobbs follows four boys in the Los Angles school system as they seek college admissions and begin to explore their adult selves.
All four of the subjects Hobbs wrote about have fascinating journeys and histories. Carlos is the son of undocumented delivery workers and tries to follow in the footsteps of his older brother who attended Ivy League school. Tio is a boy who dreams of becoming an engineer but his father doesn’t believe him. Then there’s Jon, who is battling his mother’s high expectations, and Owen, who’s trying to get serious about his academics.
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith talks with Hobbs about the book, what it’s like to go back to school and follow these four kids, and the New York Times bestseller “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace” about a former Yale classmate. He recounted his memoirs. deceased. “Show Them You’re Good” is now available wherever books are sold.
“I spent about a year going to school every day with my high school seniors in the 2016 and 2017 school year,” Hobbs said. “I was raising my own little kids at the time and long story short it was a lot of fun. It gave me a lot of hope, which was kind of an initial intention. The real surprise was that any of these kids wanted to hang out with me during the year they applied to college. They set aside a specific time each week in a roundtable format to talk about what was going on in their lives.”
One of the things that stuck with Hobbs most during his interactions with the children was how earthy, smart, funny and touching they were. The author says that one of the biggest goals of this book is to make him human. He was motivated to prove why society shouldn’t put people in boxes based on what they saw on the surface.
“My way of working with nonfiction narratives is always to undermine assumptions, and I think these kids undermine a lot of assumptions in Beverly Hills and South Los Angeles,” Hobbs said. “The idea of perspective has always been important, but it’s becoming more and more important as to who is going to tell the story. Too many stories are told by over-educated white men like me, so it’s difficult.”
“You mentioned Robert Peace, and it was kind of a memoir slash biography of a close friend of mine who died almost 10 years ago,” Hobbs said. “I reached out to Rob’s family after he died and we were all struggling to process it. I thought I could write a short story compilation for the high school newsletter or a 1,000-word piece that touched not just his death but his life as well. It turned into a book, and I call it an out-of-control eulogy.”