Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

L.A. author and poet Rodriguez has written extensively on his redemptive turn from gang warfare and jail to self-awareness and community activism (Always Running). Here he deliberates pointedly on that journey accompanied by the safety of reflective hindsight. He fills in the details of his erratic trajectory, played out on the edge of a recklessness and anger fueled by growing up in an impoverished barrio in the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County, where many Hispanic youth get sucked into a self-perpetuating pursuit of drugs, gang life, repeated arrest, early pregnancy, blunted education, and dead-end jobs. His early life was no exception from this depressing pattern of failure: born to hardworking Mexican immigrants, a member of Las Lomas gang, pumped up on drugs, he served some months in jail in 1973 for assaulting police officers. He yearned for "another way to go," and managed to get clean in jail and walk away from that life, marry a like-minded young woman (she was only 18), secure a brief career at Bethlehem Steel, and get involved in issues of social justice. Even in his apprenticeship as a "minority" journalist, however, the soreness from old wounds continued to disturb him, especially in the raising of his children from different wives. Rodriguez tells an honest, direct story, though stripped of rawness by years of reworking. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Rodriguez's best-selling memoir of Chicano gang life in East L.A., Always Running (1993), is an essential work in American letters. In the intervening years, Rodriguez has written numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for all ages while working with at-risk teens. In his galvanizing return to autobiography, he picks up his story in 1973, when, in spite of being a gang member with a record, he attempts to stop two police officers from beating a young, handcuffed Mexican woman. After his subsequent arrest, he vows to go straight and devote himself to art and social action. But his path to a creative, constructive, and giving life is a harrowing one, complicated by racism, substance abuse, poverty, and despair. Writing with needle-to-skin candor, Rodriguez reveals dark family secrets and chronicles his struggles to do right in grueling jobs, marriage, and fatherhood. Against all odds, he becomes a journalist, only to be fired for his exposes of police brutality. Hard-won success as a writer and innovative community activist follows, even as his eldest son joins a gang and lands in prison. Rodriguez's courageously forthright memoir illuminates the tragedies of prejudice, gangs, and the prison-industrial complex; affirms the need for equality, education, and rewarding work; and reminds us of the tremendous potential of every life.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

L.A. author and poet Rodriguez has written extensively on his redemptive turn from gang warfare and jail to self-awareness and community activism (Always Running). Here he deliberates pointedly on that journey accompanied by the safety of reflective hindsight. He fills in the details of his erratic trajectory, played out on the edge of a recklessness and anger fueled by growing up in an impoverished barrio in the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County, where many Hispanic youth get sucked into a self-perpetuating pursuit of drugs, gang life, repeated arrest, early pregnancy, blunted education, and dead-end jobs. His early life was no exception from this depressing pattern of failure: born to hardworking Mexican immigrants, a member of Las Lomas gang, pumped up on drugs, he served some months in jail in 1973 for assaulting police officers. He yearned for "another way to go," and managed to get clean in jail and walk away from that life, marry a like-minded young woman (she was only 18), secure a brief career at Bethlehem Steel, and get involved in issues of social justice. Even in his apprenticeship as a "minority" journalist, however, the soreness from old wounds continued to disturb him, especially in the raising of his children from different wives. Rodriguez tells an honest, direct story, though stripped of rawness by years of reworking. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Rodriguez's best-selling memoir of Chicano gang life in East L.A., Always Running (1993), is an essential work in American letters. In the intervening years, Rodriguez has written numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for all ages while working with at-risk teens. In his galvanizing return to autobiography, he picks up his story in 1973, when, in spite of being a gang member with a record, he attempts to stop two police officers from beating a young, handcuffed Mexican woman. After his subsequent arrest, he vows to go straight and devote himself to art and social action. But his path to a creative, constructive, and giving life is a harrowing one, complicated by racism, substance abuse, poverty, and despair. Writing with needle-to-skin candor, Rodriguez reveals dark family secrets and chronicles his struggles to do right in grueling jobs, marriage, and fatherhood. Against all odds, he becomes a journalist, only to be fired for his exposes of police brutality. Hard-won success as a writer and innovative community activist follows, even as his eldest son joins a gang and lands in prison. Rodriguez's courageously forthright memoir illuminates the tragedies of prejudice, gangs, and the prison-industrial complex; affirms the need for equality, education, and rewarding work; and reminds us of the tremendous potential of every life.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist