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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Compared to What by Sabin Prentis follows the story of Elaine Robeson, a school principal who has been accused of misappropriating funds in her school. Set in Detroit, the work focuses on the accusations against Elaine alongside Richard Gilliam, the New Way Charter Schools’ Chief Financial Officer. While it is apparent that Gilliam is the obvious culprit in the scandal, Elaine is dragged down with him. She is distraught and upset that all her years of sacrifice and service have culminated in the dishonoring of her name and family. With the support of her friends and family, Elaine prepares to face the board that will determine her innocence. She has to balance this with her role as a mother, a friend, and a spouse.
The events in Elaine’s current life are interspersed with her love story of how she met her husband. The inclusion of these past events breaks the monotony of narrating only one storyline. The work is further enhanced by a realistic set of characters who experience ups and downs. Elaine’s life is not perfect. She has to stand alongside her children and guide them through the mistakes they make. Other characters too have their own challenges. The work does a great job of clearly defining the protagonists and the antagonists in the story so that it is easy to follow the events in the book. Compared to What by Sabin Prentis is a poignant read that explores themes of corruption, family relationships, friendships and service to the community. Even after reading is completed, Elaine’s story continues to reverberate.