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4.7 out of 5 stars
Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2003
This book has certainly had a lasting effect upon me and truly opened my eyes to a whole new world. Before reading this brutally honest piece of work, i felt i had an idea of what life in South Central L.A. was like, the book simply highlighted my own ignorance and showed how naive i realy was.
Kody Scott symbolises both the immature, violent thug that has grown to terrorise America's streets and also the strong, courageous character that gives Los Angeles hope. "Monster" Kody Scott reveals the story of his struggle to stay alive on the harsh streets on which he grew up, the crazy, senseless path he chose to take which led him into the heart of gangsterism in it's cruelest form. He takes the reader on a journey through a troubled youth involving drugs, theft and murder in search of "ghetto super-stardom" and all it's mindless glory. The powerful imagery Scott uses in describing the unforgivable sins he has committed and the hostility he came to face from prejudiced police is truly mind blowing. The way in which he talks of homicide as a daily routine and the murders he commits as being formality hits the reader hard. It is upsetting and disturbing almost to the point of wanting to stop reading, but the intrigue and suspense is enough to keep anybody's eyes glued to the paper. The most difficult part about reading the book is reminding oneself that it is not fictional, displaying the madness and ferocity of a very real world. The glimmer of hope that can be gained from reading such a book is in Scott's efforts to change the path he has carved himself and find a new lease of life away from the violence.
Unbelievable
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2005
Many of us have seen and read books about what happens in the gang infested areas of LA, we see newspaper reports and TV footage off riots. Thus the violence in the book is not something that I found massively new or shocking.
What makes this a compelling read is that we get an insight into the thought process of a gang member and that is truely shocking. At eleven years of age Kody was happy to shoot and kill people who in relaity were the same as him but were on the otehr side of a war. This is the part of the book that shook me, at a time I was doing paper rounds and going to school he was already a full gang memeber.
The second insight and what explains why so many ex members turn to religion is the undying faith that they hold to a cause. His belief first in the gang and his people is unshakeable and not open for question it is total, and this is the force that drives him both then and now.
This is a very good read intelligently written and both brutal and at times moving, it opens up another side to a world which I relaised I knew nothing about.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 1999
I'd seen Mr. Scott on a program that ran on A&E about a year ago. I thought from the interview that the brotha was definitely intelligent and articulate. It was the manner in which he and his brother(biological) spoke about this gang war in California that captured my attention. They used military jargon when describing different situations and regarded non-gangsters as civilians. About six months ago someone mentioned on yet another TV program the book that Mr. Shakur(Scott) had written and I knew that I would read it. I started by reading the reviews online @Amazon then I placed it in my shopping cart for the longest time not sure if I wanted to buy it or not. I eventually called up my local librarian and was told that yes they had a copy of the book. I went immediately after work that day and borrowed it. I am an avid reader who loves getting lost in a story but this book was more than a story, this was someone's life and although I found myself at times very critical of the author in his real life decisions, by the following afternoon I'd read the entire book. Then I began to internalize what is was I'd just read, I became frightened for the young people in 1999. You see I am the mother of a 22 yr old, and a 17 yr old and I have often tried to see the world thru the eyes of a teenager when it came to understanding things that my sons were sure I just did not get. I am sorry Mr. Shakur I can't feel you, I'm confused. WHY??? I wanted to give the book to a couple of young men in my community as a tool of what not to do but then I thought what if they took it the wrong way and actually glorified what this person did (oh, how cool right?) I thank my most heavenly father that your change came and that your mother, wife, children and everyone that loves you were able to share in that change with you. God created mercy for the very people that least deserve it. Mr. Shakur you should celebrate in the grace and mercy of a most high God, and I will celebrate it with you. Continue to grow my brother and Love for the sake of Love. When it is all said and done that is all any of us have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 1999
I thoroughly enjoyed Sanyika's narrative of his life growing up with the Eight Tray Gangters.He also sheds real life about the reality of prison gangs(BGF, AB, EME...) in our "correctional system". As one of his cell mates failed to realize (in the book), life in prison is very harsh, you not only do time, you enter a whole new subculture that harvests the criminal mentality.You simply cannot go to the pen and do your time and go home. Prisoners find new ways to hustle once back out on the street. Definitely an eye opening, riveting and honest look at the reality today.A must read for any one who's willing to open their eyes and look at the other side of the law, from a gansta's point of view. Props to Sanyika for being real and honest, even to the point of including his homies real names and criminal activities...
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2001
Sanyika's autobiography is quite simply an astonishing read. It would be easy to label this book a sensationalised account of a semi-literate, hard headed, no hoper who slips into the world of random, senseless gang banging. But it truly isnt. The most remarkable aspect of this book is the clarity with which he writes on a any given subject. Whether it's historical background on the inception of the Crip; his first night out putting work in; describing personal feelings of seeing his homies killed - all are written with a maturity and objectivity that belies his lack of a formal education. Some of the accounts are truly horrible - but not for its graphic description (of which there are plenty), but more to do with the cold, analytical way with which Sanyika describes them. Furthermore, no one can accuse Sanyika of attaching ridiculous ideals to the actions of gangbanging because he doesn't. That is probably the most heartbreaking aspect of the book: the sense of sheer worthlessness of lives in South Central and their exclusion into the wider community and of America in general. This book is all the more complete because of Sanyika's undoubted intelligence and his commitment to shedding layers of gang facade in order to expose raw, personal, insightful emotions. I dont think I've been more touched by an autobiography. If u care about human life; if you worry over your own selfishness and the sheer horror of what could happen on a wider scale if we continue to ignore those who need it most, this is a must read.
Peace
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2006
This book is one of the best autobiographies i have ever read. It takes normal people like me into the heart of what the whole gang warfare is like in the real streets of America. I got this book in a second hand shop in spain and i could not put it down the full holiday i have read it several times since and all my friends have read it to, i would recomend this book to anyone who has a real love for finding out about diffrent cultures and how some people struggle to survive in the street of L.A'S biggest gang land.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2002
i feel sorry that kody scott had to grow up in such a harsh violent society. you are judged on not how smart you are or if you are a good person the only thing they care about is how many people you have smoked or if you are a real O.G. Monster reached O.G status but at what cost shot 8 times and now still in prison. he makes you feel as though you are there with him a lived all of his tales and seen what he has seen. his friends are dead and family no longer in touch. One has to ask themselves was it worth it? A must have book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2008
i agree with previous reviews that this is an "interesting" book to read but sadly it shows what a real waste of life these kind of people live. the author talks about his soldiers & wars but these characters actions are not anything like war/soldiers/battles etc . the actions they take are nothing short of brain dead cowardness carried out by dis-illusioned people who actually think they are hard maybe a part in areal war would show just how weak minded they are.he also talks about how "big" the crips gang is but yet when they go to prison they fight with other "crip" gangs - yet in the book the "crips" are protrayed as this big powerful unit when really they are sad little individual street gangs
who run in fear of one another & are made up of who ever lives in thier street. yes there is a gang problem in L.A. but its small individual units all struggling for thier own street corner & not a large organised unit as protrayed inthe book. a decent read if only to let you see what real sadoes these people are!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
I am sickened by this man, sickened that I have contributed to his finances. There is no insight about 'why the gang is', even 'what the gang is' and there is no insight into why he hates 'whitey' or 'pigs'. But there is a lingering and consistent undercurrent that the 'American' i.e. the white man, is the enemy. This 'book' is an insight into the mind of an idiot. Not a monster, just an idiot. Having googled his name, it quickly becomes clear he has done anything but turn a productive leaf. If the author reads this, I want him to know he is not Sanyika Shakur, and neither is he a Monsta'. He is an idiot. Shoot me, Mr Idiot, because masking your self-acclaimed intelligence is a fog of ignorance and hatred. Disgusting human being. Overstand that?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2009
This book is ACE couldn,t put it down till I done wit it and now upset it has finished a truly wonderful grim and often brutal reality check on gangland war fair in LA and how out of it Kody AKA Sanyika came gud great read.
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