Monday, August 26, 2013
“Freedom Writer” Darrius Garrett will sign memoir in Lewisville
It's a deeper look into the story behind the 1999 book and its 2007 movie adaptation.
LEWISVILLE Darrius Garrett, one of the original "Freedom Writers" is hoping to give his readers a broader experience with his newly published memoir.
Garrett said his memoir, Diary of a Freedom Writer, provides an experience for people interested in the "Freedom Writers" story.
"The original book told our stories, but the stories had no faces attached to them. Then the movie had faces attached to the stories but they weren't ours," Garrett said. "So Diary of a Freedom Writer places a period on the Freedom Writers story by giving the reader the full experience."
The Freedom Writers' Diary was published in 1999. Students from Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, and their teacher Erin Gruwell wrote the book. The students called themselves the "Freedom Writers." In 2007, a movie adaptation of the book starred Hilary Swank as Gruwell.
"I feel that the movie was pretty accurate, but when it came to the character that is based on me, Marcus, there were a few things that were different," Garrett said.
Garrett will be at Barnes & Noble, 2325 S. Stemmons Freeway at 5 p.m. Sunday to sign copies of his new book. He said writing this book was a humbling experience, and one that he had attempted for years. He said he came to realize that part of his struggle was that he was still living the story while trying to write it.
"I went through a lot of heartache, more death as well as life with the birth of my daughters that I talk about in the book as well and to top it off I was homeless for a long time and living in a single room HUD home," Garrett said. "That experience initiated the fire within me to finish what I started."
Garrett compared writing his second book to recording an album.
"It's kind of like doing an album musically where it's a bit easier to go into the studio as a group and record your vocals and then leave the studio and never return until its released," Garrett said. "But when you are doing your own solo album or any work of art, there is more recording, more focus and worry about what is needed and what isn't needed."
After the book signing, Garrett will attend "Rethinking Everything," an event that equips teachers/educators to deal with at risk youth. It will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at The Sheraton, 4440 W. John Carpenter Freeway in Irving. Garrett will be the conferences keynote speaker.
"During my keynote, I will simply tell my story and express how the school system gave up on me and how it took people to believe in me like Erin Gruwell did with us (The Freedom Writers)," Garrett said. "I hope that the parents that are showing up to this conference can understand that each and every one of them are the Erin Gruwells in their kids' lives and it is up to them to cater to their child's inner greatness."
The conference is about "unschooling," which is an educational method and philosophy that rejects "compulsory" school as a primary means for learning. Garrett said he first learned about the method from a family friend.
"She told me about unschooling, and when I did research on it I gained more interest and knowledge in it. Coming from a background of gangs, drugs, and violence to now being a father of three, I felt a huge responsibility to keep my kids safe," Garrett said. "I believe a test or curriculum doesn't designate how smart you are or your level of intelligence. If I allowed the school system to dictate who I was as a person or mentally compared to standardized tests I'd be a nobody, as a matter fact, like one teacher said to me in the fourth grade that I was stupid; but now come to find out we call it dyslexia."
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