Absolutely hooked from the first page, a real story, real good writing, captivating, heart pulling, tear jerking, EYE OPENING, one of the best books I've ever read! One of those books where you miss the characters like family when its done! Wish it could have went on forever!
It can be hard for middle-class people (like me) to have an conception of what growing up in poverty--and, in this case,the ghetto--is like. This book focuses on two teenage girls growing up, their families and friends, and provides an extraordinary portrait of their complex lives. Sometimes you want to scream at the girls "Don't do it, you're too young to get pregnant again," but at others you are filled with admiration and awe at how well they cope with the overwhelming burdens they have to carry.
I don't normally read 400 page books of nonfiction, but I read this one almost breathlessly. You won't regret reading it; it is a book that will live on with you.
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has pulled off the ultimate feat in fly-on-the-wall writing. Her presence in the lives of those she has so studiously documented seems almost invisible. She writes about the lives of Coco & Cesar - a modern Romeo and Juliet perhaps, with all the same passion and self-destruction. Also the beautiful Jessica: a symbol of potential not-realised. The research, consideration, love and honesty that has gone into this book astounds me. I wept on the tube, on more than one occasion. Yet it is not a depressing book: it is uplifting, if anything. It shows how people in the worst situations can make the most of their bad lots. It shows the dark underbelly of American life, and it shows that this belly rumbles with passion, affection, hard-graft and love, as well as trauma, hate, and poverty so ingrained that the characters can imagine little less in their lives. Serena, Jessica's daughter, gets a limo-ride for her 18th birthday. She drives round their block, not knowing where else to go. New York hasn't been done this well since Tom Wolfe wrote 'Bonfire of the Vanities', and this ain't fiction. Buy it.
An absolutely riveting read, the best I have read all year. Adrian Nicole le Blanc gives an intense insight into the 'ghetto' lifestyle of the Bronx throughout the 80's - 90's, highlighting how America is not the always the land where dreams can come true, instead documenting how hard life is for the under-previledged in the worlds most powerful country. Le Blanc's style of writing flows easily, and takes you on a journey with the characters, managing to draw you into their lives, making it easy fo feel that you are reading fiction as opposed to a true story. 10 out of 10
This book gives the reader an inside peek into the world that many are fortunate enough not to have seen. If you're curious why the Bronx has such a bad reputation, this book is for you. It follows the life of a troubled family, in a typical American ghetto. There is no happy ending, or an ending at all as far as I could see. It's just a glimpse into another world.