This New York Public Library selection, as one of the 150 most important books of the 20th century, is a true-life portrait of growing up in the Chicago projects.
This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.
©1991 Alex Kotlowitz (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A triumph of empathy as well as a significant feat of reporting.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Alex Kotlowitz’s story informs the heart. His meticulous portrait of the two boys in a Chicago Housing project shows how much heroism is required to survive, let alone escape.” (New York Times)
Shocking, angering, hopeful
Dion did an excellent job for the most part... a little slow at times. There were only a few times when his annunciation knocked me out of my listening dream.
Every moment! This was a roller coaster ride of a book.
This book is so powerful, so well researched, so intimate while paying attention to the broader picture... I told my husband that if I wrote something this meaningful and essential to understanding life in America and race relations today, I would die a happy woman. Bravo a million times over.
Don't know why I had not read this before. This book went on to become a nonfiction classic, often assigned in sociology classes. Written in the 1980s, it is -- sadly -- all still true. Not an easy reality. Told thru the eyes of children. Complicated. Unbiased. There is no better narrator than Dion Graham, who was especially able in bringing this story home.
Recommended for the same people who appreciate Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. You might also like Gangleader for a Day.
47 year old woman
It 's hard to say. I would imagine they would be much the same.
No. Pretty desperate and sad. Like watching a train wreck. disturbing.
The language is embarrassingly flowery. So many clichés and trite descriptions. Yet despite this the story is fantastic. So glad I perservered despite the terrible writing style. This true story of a family growing up in the projects: It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. How can the brothers survive? and if they do survive will they ever get out of that place? Or are they doomed to be like everyone else?
How could this happen in America and who's responsible?
A moving and believable.story. I can't imagine living with so many people in an apartment or trying to live on what I could make playing cards. I do wish there were a story that examined conditions today with such thoroughness.
Excellent book, realistic account, one of my top picks!
He has one of those classic voices that just brings the story alive!
A realistic account of childhood or a lack of; in a ghetto of Chicago
This is a very realistic account of a problem many weren't aware of and everyone should read this at least once! We all here about gang activities, but this book brings that to life and gives an up close perspective.
This book is high on the list of non-fiction. It is a though provoking piece on public programs in this country and the bureaucracy that is one of the main reasons for its failure.
Dion's reading of this book appeals to me because you are getting the story without the emotion that could cloud the facts.
The book elicited feelings of hopelessness.
Loving Audible!!!! I am a printmaker, educator and artist... and Audible helps me do and be at the same time!
I seldom come across a tale this affecting and powerful. Again I listened to this via Audible.com and I was not at any moment disappointed. Dion Graham is a seasoned and expressive narrator. The story is one that cuts straight to the heart of Chicago's innercity housing problems through the eyes of two young boys Lafayette and Pharoah. Kotlowitz somehow manages to strip away the distance one might feel in a typical journo-based human interest piece and replaces that with something incredibly experiential. I am certainly going to look for more of his writing after this.
Pharoah was my favourite character. I think that his undying sense of love over senseless violence and injustice at first comes across as naiive but really when you look at it, he asks some very obvious and potent questions. I know that his life has been hard upto now... mi only hope he has maintained that spirit as a young man.
Graham's voice is superb. I cannot fault his insights as a narrator. he cerhtainly brought the book to life for me and Icould not, could not stop listening to him!
I dont think the subtitle needs changing
Read this book!!!!
When I recognized the voice of the narrator and realized that it was the same person that narrates First 48, I was sold! The story is very interesting and I was able to find updates on the boys. Also, the author reports on an episode of This American Life on NPR titled "Harper High School" (parts I and II) where he briefly discusses the book and gives an update about Dawn. It can be found on the This American Life website under episodes from 2013 and is the reason I chose this book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys texts of this nature.
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