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"Ayy Blood, we gotta take a ride. Hop yo' ass in the bawr," shouts a veteran gangbanger to Morris near the beginning of this disappointing work. Raised in poverty by a crack-smoking single mother, Morris spins a woeful tale of constant violence, serious crime and murder galore. Shuttled back and forth across the country as a boy, he quickly falls in with the Bloods-an African-American street gang whose thirst for inflicting pain on others seems rarely slaked. Attack breeds revenge in an endless cycle of death, with Morris placing himself at the center of it all. "There's an adrenaline rush when I whip my burner out," he writes. "It's a confidence-booster to see how the toughest guys cry for their lives when I cock that shit back." Obviously meant to be raw and from the "street," this whole project reads as self-aggrandizing. Compounding the amateurish feel are clunky poems penned by Jason Davis preceding each chapter. If all this is meant to inspire African-American and Latino youth to turn their backs on the thug life, as Terrie Williams writes in the overwrought afterword, it fails miserably. What it does is reinforce stereotypes that already dominate the mainstream media. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
DaShaun Jiwe Morris tells an all-too-familiar ghetto story: wracked by emotional abandonment, lacking direction, and offered few options as a young, black male, Morris, at 10 years old, gives up on safer dreams and becomes a thug who sells drugs, gangbangs, and soldiers with fist and gun alike for the East Coast gang, the Bloods. Continuing gang life, Morris makes it through high school as an athlete, then, during his second year of college football, is named Black College All-American and first team All-American for all-purpose offensive yards. The NFL loomed. But he continued his gangster life, and ended up facing a 25-year prison sentence for attempted murder. The telling points of Morris' tough narrative aren't in the stereotypes (shockingly gruesome and, at times, oddly sexy), but in the sensitivity and intelligence of the characters. The gang episodes are interlaced with amazingly normal day-to-day events, creating a disturbingly morbid reality. A survivor, Morris is a smart writer who reveals the haunting aspects of gang life.--Eleveld, Mark Copyright 2008 Booklist
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A former member of the Bloods gang now wages a battle to keep young men from killing one another. With a seven-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.