Ida B. Wells-Barnett Tower. The place held such promise when it was built in the late 1970s. It was Harlem's hope for a new beginning -- an affordable, safe residence for people who couldn't afford to live downtown. But that was more than twenty-five years ago, before the devastating crack scourge hit.
But the residents of Ida B. are resilient. They've built their own community and they look out for one another to the best of their abilities. Neighbors may argue, and even fight, but whenever one of them is in trouble, the whole building rallies around.
Twenty-five-year-old Brenda Carver is a welfare mother of four children who longs to be a writer; Rosa Rivera is an aspiring actress who will let nothing stand in the way of her career; Sharif Goldsby is a political activist determined to change the world, starting with Harlem and the Ida B. There's also Miss Jackie, the middle-aged, back-stabbing gossip; Vincent, the former bank robber turned scam artist; Mrs. Harris, the elderly neighborhood fence; and high school honor student Ricky, who hopes to be one of the scramblers on the corner -- hawking crack to passersby.
When a building resident kills herself and two of her children, the tenants make a collective vow to care for her surviving child.
But that's just the beginning of the tragedies facing the residents of the Ida B. A shocking crime occurs in the building, and everyone becomes a suspect. With accusations flying, the tight community of the Ida B. begins to collapse under the strain. And, to top it all, they learn that their home of more than twenty years is about to be torn down.
As the search for the killer intensifies, unsung heroes step forward -- at greatpersonal risk -- to right the wrongs that have been done. In Karen E. Quinones Miller's world, the people who stand out are the people who survive, and go on, against all odds, to share their wisdom and find their dreams. In a modern take on the classic sentiment, "There's no place like home," "Ida B." affirms that home is a place we love, even when it is less than perfect.
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