This book was hard to read, the decisions made by these young girls was heartbreaking, but I could not put it down. I kept hoping these girls would turn their lives around and better themselves and their children. I highly recommend this book, it is a sobering look at life on the streets of the Bronx, and struggles with poverty, drugs and prison life.
I thought this book was really good. In the beginning it was quite confusing to figure out who's who... but a few chapters you get the hang of it. Good story about poverty and young girls who only know the street life.
Excellent book, but it's sad. It helped me understand more about what my foster children's lives were like before they were removed. It's hard to see people not learning from their parents, friends, neighbors & their own mistakes.
This book was fascinating but also draining. It was so interesting to read about the highs and lows of these young peoples' lives. As a New Yorker, I was intrigued to see how differently we live given our close proximity to one another. The many people who populate the pages of the book, their harsh existence and the negative recurring cycles were difficult to read about, though. I recommend it because it shows - sometimes in dizzying detail - how difficult it is to break negative cycles given our socio-economic circumstances, our traditions, and day-to-day obstacles.
David Sedaris was here in Washington DC and I went to see him - during his talk, readings, etc, he noted that this was one his favorite books, primarily because of the story telling (although this is non-fiction). I really, really enjoyed the writing as well - very matter-of-fact yet it sucks you in. I think this also provides an amazing opportunity to understand some of the daily struggles of the poor, something that is good for all of us to understand and learn to appreciate. The only complaint I have is that the book somewhat abruptly ends - I guess that's because everyone's lives continue on but I was expecting a little more "closure". That said, it's a great read and I would highly recommend it.
Wow, I have really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it was incredibly riveting and wonderfully written. On the other hand my heart broke for the characters in this book, especially the children. It takes place in the poverty-ridden neighborhoods of the Bronx but it might as well have been another country. I recommend this book but it is not uplifting!
Unbelieveble first hand account of an urban family today. The reader gets to know the individuals, their friends, partners, problems and addictions. The fact that drugs, multiple partners, inconsistant living arrangements and even jail are everyday life occurances. Although you know it exists, this book gives you details so you almost want to warn the characters before they make the next wrong move.
This book was recommended to me by my brother who I rarely share similar tastes. He raved about it, and told me that my daughter, who is a social worker, has probably read it. Turns out that her mother-in-law gave it to her when she graduated from the University of Chicago School of Social Work. Subsequently, she's given it to her interns over the last 10 years.
The stories are beyond anything I know from my suburban upbringing, but clearly show that if we don't figure out one generation to help, this tale will continue generation after generation as we saw it. I think that every thinking person should read this.
I loved this book! It provides a glimpse into the subculture of poverty and gave me a lot to think about in terms of why programs don't always help people fighting to get out. We need to provide programs that speak to the root issues, rather than use what would work for those not in this "sub-culture".
Great book. It really shows a whole other way of life most people don't see. You can't help but feel so sad for the children. The worst part is that nothing has changed after all these years. This type of poverty & child abuse just keep perpetuating itself.
I tried to read this book. I got to about page 75. But it was too depressing for me to continue. I'm sure many people would like this book. It starts in the 80's and is about a "Random" poor Puerto Rican family in the Bronx. The men are all drug dealers and their girls are all pregnant at 14 and 15. The women are constantly getting beaten and seem to accept it as part of life. The drug gangs get busted and all the men go to jail. The women seem to have no morals at all and run around like crazy even though they know that they will receive a beating or be kicked out of the house. The poor babies are neglected or abused. I just couldn't go on. This is a non-fiction book, researched for years by the author and nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It's also a New York Times Best Seller. So, if this is a part of life that you are really interested in, don't let my opinions stop you. I am just too sensitive to this type of thing and it saddens me that people really live like this - in perpetual ignorance and despair.
This a book about two Latinas and their families living in poverty and drug infested inner cities. Its interesting to read about 16 years of their lives because they are prime examples of learned helplessness and the cycle of poverty begating poverty
Ive been reading RANDOM FAMILY by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc in bits and pieces. Ive found it difficult to stay away for long though. The story is a train wreck, but not in its a bad book way but in the way that the lives of the characters are constantly colliding upon themselves and they seem to constantly fall short of the goals they set for themselves. Its life imitating life, repeating the sins of the father and so on. So why isnt it one of those books that can be put down and walked away from, easy, its like those Spanish novellas on the television, the characters are just so damn entertaining.
All fun aside, drugs, poverty, teenage motherhood, jail, and all the other things that go in hand are heartbreaking in so many ways. Yet, there is the underlying strength to continue on and forge forward despite the lack of anything real or promising. I suppose that beyond the entertainment factor Im waiting to see if there is one among the many characters that breaks the cycle. There is one character, Milagros, who without hearing from her has the strength of nails as she takes on the responsibility of anothers children and raises them the best way she can on her own. One thing for sure though, is that they all seem to love as hard as they live, not always a good thing.