From the Hood to the Heights

Tanisha Jamison

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA MEMOIR

    Core Theme

    COMING OF AGE; RAGS TO RICHES

    TIME PERIOD

    1980s & '90s,20th Century (multiple decades)

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    WHERE THE HEART IS ; PRECIOUS; BEAUTIFUL BOY

    CHARACTER LIST

    TANISHA: 6-30. LEAD. DETERMINED AND INSPIRATIONAL.

    DONELLE: UNKNOWN, LIKELY 30S. SUPPORTING. TANISHA’S CURRENT HUSBAND AND SOULMATE, THEY HAVE A SON, JAMESON, TOGETHER.

    JAY: 16+. SUPPORTING. TANISHA’S BOYFRIEND WHEN SHE ENTERS HIGH SCHOOL, AND THE FATHER OF HER FIRST CHILD.

    TONYA: 20-30S. SUPPORTING. TANISHA’S LONGTIME GIRLFRIEND.

    ROBERTO/BERTO: 0-14. MINOR. TANISHA AND JAY’S SON.

    CYNTHIA: 20S. MINOR. JAY’S SISTER AND ONE OF TANISHA’S BEST FRIENDS EVEN AFTER THEIR BREAKUP.

    Logline

    Back of Book: A compelling true story of life growing up in the notorious streets of Cleveland, Ohio. The generational curses of mental illness’, drugs and alcohol addiction would affect her every move in life.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54

    Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning

    Setting

    United States. Cleveland Ohio

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Tanisha Jamison

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    With her natural born gift of art, she aspired to become a world-famous artist but becoming a mom at 16 changed her path in life. Working hard to continue to finish school and go to college so that she was not just another statistic, she loses hope when she started battling depression.

    Ending Description

    I take my readers through my journey from living in the hood to moving into the suburbs that we call The Heights. I expose my struggle with mental illness, sexuality, teen motherhood, and eventually becoming a young entrepreneur. I share the lessons I learned about trust, betrayal, and leadership.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Happy Ending,Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Rags to Riches

    Main Character Details

    Name: Tanisha Jamison

    Age: Teen

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Badass,Naive,Selfless,Funny,Adventurous

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Tanisha Jamison

    Age: 29

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Badass,Aspiring,Adventurous,Engaging,Faithful,Educated,Insecure,Naive,Modest,Underdog,Selfless,Skillful,Funny

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    A compelling true story of life growing up in the notorious streets of Cleveland, Ohio. The generational curses of mental illness’, drugs and alcohol addiction would affect her every move in life. With her natural born gift of art, she aspired to become a world-famous artist but becoming a mom at 16 changed her path in life. Working hard to continue to finish school and go to college so that she was not just another statistic, she loses hope when she started battling depression. This book chronicles the effects of being raised in a poverty-stricken environment with hopes of wanting more but not knowing how to get it. It shares my mother’s struggle to give me everything in her reach to keep me from becoming victim to the streets of Cleveland. I take my readers through my journey from living in the hood to moving into the suburbs that we call The Heights. I expose my struggle with mental illness, sexuality, teen motherhood, and eventually becoming a young entrepreneur. I share the lessons I learned about trust, betrayal, and leadership along the way.

    Genre

    LGBT, DRAMA

    Brief

    An African American girl grows up in a poor Cleveland neighborhood riddled with gang violence and addiction. She strives to forge her own path but her life is thrown off track by friends leading her into trouble as well as teenage pregnancy. She continues to struggle with mental illness into adulthood, leading to a lack of career focus that leads to money issues. Through her own perseverance and the help of professional mentors, she is able to start her own extremely successful business and provide for her family while helping other women pull themselves up.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Overall the book profile does accurately reflect the book. The short summary is a little misleading about the plot of the book, and the additional character details aren’t filled out, but otherwise it’s pretty spot-on.

    Draw of Story

    The difficulties the protagonist faces as an African American girl in a poor community riddled with gang violence and drug addiction is immediately compelling. It’s a challenge for this young girl to understand the truth in what is happening around her as she grows, and her naivety is charming in that she always finds the bright points even when everything goes wrong. Hers is an incredibly unique perspective that isn’t shown enough in movies or television, and telling this story could help others.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The structure of the book doesn’t make for a dynamic read. The stories that are included don’t always feel necessary to the overall arc of the book. Focusing in on telling one, clearly thought out story would be necessary for adaptation. Even if the stories are disparate, they should be tied together by a theme so that the book flows easily. Storylines are often introduced and then dropped, and it doesn’t feel like there’s a logic to the way the protagonist’s story is being told. This is authentic to how real life often happens, moment by moment, but something has to be made of this. Every part of this has to contribute to a complete narrative, or otherwise be its own, finished narrative in each chapter. Tying up loose ends is essential.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The protagonist has a clear, diverse point of view, not only because of her race but also due to being a woman and a member of the LGBTQ community, plus someone who struggled with poverty. Her voice is powerful and unique, and that’s a huge draw for a potential audience. Tanisha’s world is unexpected but scarily realistic, and it’s just as important for those whom it would represent as it is for those whose eyes it would open.

    Fanbase Potential

    Yes, it’s easy to see this getting a lot of attention and accumulating a large fanbase due to the fact it’s a true story and focuses on an underrepresented story.

    Awards Potential

    Yes, it’s easy to see this garnering a lot of awards potential because it’s a true story that features a minority lead.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    WHERE THE HEART IS; PRECIOUS; BEAUTIFUL BOY

    What’s New About the Story

    The protagonist’s experiences are inherently unique, and not much would have to be done to make it more original. The book does a great job of bringing Cleveland, Ohio to life and making it feel like a tangible place for the audience. An adaptation would do well to continue in that trend.

    Lead Characters

    The protagonist herself is very unique, and her struggles with mental health and addiction, as well as the gritty, very real world around her, all make her stand out. The way the book is written could enhance this more, however. We are told a lot about Tanisha, but not shown it. For instance, she sporadically talks about how great of an artist she is, but we never see her do anything artistic or at all in that vein.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The protagonist’s experiences are certainly unique, but the book itself doesn’t quite stand out as a rare gem. This is mostly because it lacks a clear, logical narrative through line. A good deal of work would have to be done for an adaptation to create one from what is on the page.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, Film - Streaming, Film - Indie, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The POV could be much deeper, to really sink the audience into the story utilizing more immediate language and a better developed atmosphere. The more the audience experiences the world through the protagonist's eyes, the better. Right now, the book almost feels as though it’s made of a list of facts at times. This makes it feel like less of a memoir, as there is no central theme or message until toward the end of the book. It’s not clear how she actually became successful, for instance, so it feels extremely sudden that she’s rich and able to provide for her family and help others. Narrowing the focus to her adult years might help this, as it will help the audience more fully go on this journey from rags to riches alongside her.

    Tips for Improvement

    The central narrative must be clearer and more impactful to truly sell Tanisha’s story. The supporting characters also don’t feel fleshed-out. Characters are often introduced and then never mentioned again, as are storylines. Having consistent secondary characters is necessary to making this world feel authentic. Tanisha’s mother, for instance, is at times a great character, but she’s also absent for much of the book. Tanisha’s husband Donelle is barely in the story either. None of the supporting characters have their own subplots or motivations, so they don’t feel like real people populating Tanisha’s world. It would also be really nice if we see Tanisha building her extremely successful business from the ground-up. There is potential for this to be so inspiring, but it’s detailed in only a handful of pages. This is a smaller note, but the book is in need of a proofing pass. There are words used incorrectly as well as spelling and grammar mistakes, and it makes for a difficult read. There’s also a good deal of unclear phrasing and unique sentence structuring that makes for a confusing, slow read. A full proof of the book would make for a much more professional read, so that the errors don’t detract from what could otherwise be the starting point of a strong story.

    Brief

    The compelling true story of an African American woman growing up in a dangerously violent city, and her struggle to overcome mental illness and addiction in order to establish a successful business and provide for her family.

    What We Liked

    This work represents a diverse point of view and calls attention to important cultural themes that are all too often overlooked in mainstream media. With an empowering message and at times difficult or even tragic topics, the book doesn’t shy away from representing the author’s true experiences which allowed her to blossom into the strong businesswoman she is today. Her challenging journey is laid clear on these pages, and it’s a tremendous one that any audience can learn from.

    Film: Inspirational films always find an audience, and that’s exactly what this adaptation would be. Even through all the ups and downs, the storytelling remains hopeful and positive. Every audience would root for Tanisha, as she is relatable even in her darkest moments. This would be the kind of film that taps into any viewer’s empathy, giving a heartfelt story that’s essential to understanding what it means to persevere through impossible challenges.

    TV: Most of the protagonist’s life is covered throughout the book, which is a prime selling point for a TV series. There’s no shortage of compelling stories to feature throughout her life, and a huge cast of characters to fill out the space that a series affords. These are complex people who aren’t always likable, but they’re real — the backbone of good television.

    Key points: True story; Diverse perspective and protagonist ; Faith angle is commercial ; Interesting supporting characters; Tonally well-balanced between dark and light

    Synopsis

    TANISHA lives with her two BROTHERS in a rundown neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1990s. Their MOM does the best she can to raise them right, and following a divorce from their DAD, Tanisha’s mom gets custody of her. They move in with her grandma, SHIRLEY, and Shirley and Tanisha have a strong bond. Tanisha’s dad gets angry that she wants to spend more time with her mom than him, and he kidnaps her for a few days with his family’s help. The police have to intervene and return her to her mom, and Tanisha doesn’t speak with her father for a few years. Besides this contentious parental situation, Tanisha is also growing up surrounded by gangs, gun violence, and drug addiction.

    Tanisha struggles to focus on her classwork and often plays the class clown to get attention from other students. She falls in with a group of friends who encourage her troublemaking. Her mom continues trying to set rules and curfews, but Tanisha sneaks out to see the friends her mom doesn’t like, often with Shirley’s help. After some of her friends are arrested and others killed in shootings, Tanisha’s mom moves them to a Cleveland suburb in the hopes that Tanisha will make new friends. Tanisha wants to be a good suburban girl, but when she moves schools again she struggles to fit in. Her mom runs a daycare from their old home, and Tanisha uses her absence from their new home to have her friends over for parties when they skip school.

    At 15 she is signed by a modeling agency, but has less success than she hopes. She soon develops a dangerous eating disorder that lands her in a psychiatric ward. While there, she learns she’s pregnant. She doesn’t want to keep the baby, but the father JAY and his family insist she does. She gives birth to ROBERTO (“Berto”) when she’s 16, and her life fortunately doesn’t change much as both families support her. She’s accepted on a partial scholarship to her first choice school, and her mom keeps Berto for her. Because she’s working full time to pay for school, her grades begin slipping. She bounces from school to school and major to major. This way she can collect financial aid without finishing a program and paying it back.

    In her early 20s, Tanisha is struggling with mental illness and stops taking her depression medication for the first time since she was released from the psychiatric ward. Jay’s sister CYNTHIA, who remains one of Tanisha’s best friends, introduces her to DRE. Tanisha has dropped out of school and puts a deposit down on a rental house by getting as many payday loans as she can. Dre moves in with her and Berto, and Tanisha shortly after gives birth to SKYLER. Her depression and the inability to pay back the loans catches up to her, and Tanisha attempts suicide. She’s diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD in addition to her depression. With the help of a therapist, she develops a plan to pay off her debt. She’s still friends with Cynthia, who encourages her to go out for New Year’s Eve where she kisses a strange woman, opening her eyes to her own bisexuality.

    She begins a pattern of dating women, moving them in, and then having terrible break-ups. She enjoys a years-long relationship with TONYA, but her Christian family and Berto’s father aren’t supportive, so she ultimately breaks it off. Tanisha is able to go on social security as she’s unable to keep a job due to her mental health. This enables her to pay off her past loans. She then uses every penny she can scrape together to open her own childcare center, putting herself and the establishment at risk for a time. She meets DONELLE, her true soulmate. They marry, and she has her third child, JAMESON. Tanisha pays successful women for mentorships and looks into passive income resources. She soon becomes a pro at passive income strategies, allowing her to mentor others and even give money to those in need. She currently empowers women to turn their lives around and achieve financial independence with her Hood2Heights company.

    About The Author

    Tanisha Jamison hopes that sharing her story inspires people to not allow their circumstances and environment to dictate their future. She wants to show people that success is not easy to obtain, but it’s always in your reach no matter how many people tell you otherwise. Being in a room full of young African American entrepreneurs is so electrifying to the soul and she wants to show you the steps she took so that one day you can experience the feeling as well.