When Leah Reinhart was six years old, her family moved to an unlikely neighborhood on a hill much like the country—a place where everyone dressed and lived like they were living a real-life Little House on the Prairie. Yet their new home was in Oakland, California, and everything surrounding Leah’s neighborhood was the polar opposite of their old-fashioned lifestyle.
As an already scared little white girl in a predominantly African American city, Leah quickly learned that would have to face many of her fears—or get eaten alive. And in her search for love and belonging, she also found that things aren’t always as they appear. As she got to know her neighbors, most of whom belonged to the neighborhood church, she began to realize that the hood was sometimes much safer than the country.
Over the course of her life—learning from the streets, a cult, trial and error, and many years of therapy—Leah developed an eye for patterns. She learned how the belief system she’d absorbed during her childhood manifested in her teenage years and young adulthood. Ultimately, she learned how to change her thoughts and accept herself—and in doing so, she broke free of the cycle she’d been imprisoned by.