Where is Robert?

At risk youth often turn into troubled teens, usually winding up in detention facilities or in jail diversion programs. Where is Robert tells a compelling story in chronological order of a poor African American family living in Watts, California between 1951 and the present. While reading this story you may ask, why did so many tragedies happen to this family? We learn about Clelia’s first husband who had a gambling problem and nervous breakdown. As you move through the chapters, discuss with your group the warning signs as they appear.

Here is a list of discussion questions, which will help you to understand Clelia and her family. What type of interventions would you have proposed for this family? Analyze Clelia’s parenting and life skills. Where do you believe she needed assistance? Would she have benefited from training courses?

What role did poverty play in the course of the family’s development? Was Melvin Jr. sent to the front lines in South Vietnam as a result of his being poor and uneducated? Do you believe this family was typical for the Watts area with respect to the time? Do you feel the civil rights movement, which occurred in the 1960s impacted this family’s development?

Can you find the teachable moments for any of the Howell and Thompson Children? Could Rose’s life have been transformed through counseling when she was fifteen?

Where is Robert was written to assist all of you who are in the helping professions understand and educate troubled families.