Survivor… a word continuously thought of when reading this memoir. Upon the release of The Freedom Writers Diary and film adaptation starring Hilary Swank in 2007, New York Times bestselling author Darrius Garrett realized that both book and movie tell the Freedom Writer Story as a whole, but not on a personal level. During speaking engagements, the same questions always surface: ‘Did Ms. Gruwell change you? How did you make it out of the gang life? What stopped you from killing yourself?’ Darrius’s answers are inside.
Diary of a Freedom Writer takes you on a journey beyond the classrooms to the treacherous streets of Long Beach, California. An innocent little boy born in poverty and raised in a violent environment, Darrius became a product of the streets, written off by the school and judicial systems alike, growing up in an environment full of gangs and drugs. He spent his life searching for a father figure until he became a Freedom Writer, motivational speaker, bestselling author, and finally a father himself. His story is that of a man realizing his experiences are what made him the man he has been seeking to be all his life. Upon beating the odds, Diary of a Freedom Writer serves as proof that Darrius’s story of struggle, life, change, and hope will uplift, educate, encourage, and inspire.
Targeted Audience: Young Adult (12-20) & Adults
Darrius Garrett, Co-Bestselling Author/Actor/Poet/Motivational Speaker/Freedom Writer amongst other entertainment business ventures, has been writing for some time now. Darrius’s major credits are his contributions as co-author of the #1 New York Times Bestselling book entitled “Freedom Writers Diary (1999),” and “Freedom Writers Diary 10th Anniversary Edition (2009)”, which was also made into a motion picture entitled “Freedom Writer (2007)” where the character “Marcus” was based on Darrius. To add to his literary credits Darrius has also written two plays for the El Camino College Theater program working with Dr. Pieter Van Niel. Darrius has a poetry book ready for publishing and he writes scripts for movies & Television.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
With the latest violence that has been occurring in the world from school shootings to the Trayvon Martin shooting, Oscar Grant and the usual hood violence that occurred. I knew with the life I used to live that I would have been one of those people that you hear about all the time by being either the victim or the shooter and because of my exposure to writing and people that care like Erin Gruwell (Darrius English Teacher from Freedom Writers) and others, I realized that I have an obligation to tell my story to help others not take the same route that I did. Diary of A Freedom Writer is more than the Freedom Writers story…Its my story; a story of chance,Hope, redemption and tolerance. The fork in the road to those that aren’t quite sure which way to turn.
Read more, including a sample from the book
Sample from Book:
Summer of 1992 had finally arrived. I was already stricken by the death of my friend, Smurf, who had previously died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds after taking his brothers gun and trying to carry it for protection and power. The situation occurred when we were hanging out on that block. He tried to use the gun to scare someone. He tried to pull the gun, and I went to stop him. But he refused to hand the gun to me. I grabbed the gun and we began to tussle with each other, and a struggle began between us. I honestly thought that the gun wasn’t loaded. If I had known that it was loaded then I would have never approached him. When I tried to snatch the gun or at least push it out of his hand, I don’t know if he was trying to shoot me, but as the tussle continued I heard a loud bang; or I would say more like a loud pow type of noise.
A weird burn smell filled my nose. People scattered and ran while ducking. I saw blood running to the ground like water from a half-turned-on faucet. I knew I had been shot, at least until Smurf fell to the ground. Though I felt anxiety and fear like my throat was closing cutting off my air, I couldn’t do anything but watch as he laid there gasping for air. I stayed with him until the police and ambulance came. His breathing became rapid then delayed. His body was fighting and his legs kicking, fighting for life until one last exhale escaped his little body and he died right in front of me.