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This book was about a boy named Luis Rodriquez who with his family moved to the streets of L.A. Luis and his brother, Joe became quickly involved in a gang banging lifestyle and started committing crimes and doing drugs.
Life on the street is a subject that the author himself, now 45, understands from firsthand youthful experience. Born in Mexico, Rodriguez grew up in East Los Angeles amid poverty, racism, and gang warfare. By the time he was a teenager, he'd witnessed countless acts of savage violence committed by everyone from gang members to the L.A. Sheriff's Department. As he explains in Always Running, Rodriguez joined a local gang because it seemed to offer protection and power in a dangerous world: "I was a broken boy, shy and fearful. I wanted what Thee Mystics had; I wanted the power to hurt somebody."
It was difficult for Luis to stay in school, because Mexican students were always treated as second-rate. Both language and ethnic differences added to this, and at the same time ignited many gang wars. Whenever Luis was expelled from school, he would end up in a gang, on drugs, or in jail. His parents finally tired of bailing him out of jails, so kicked him out of the house to live in the garage.
What, exactly, is all the fuss about? Here's one excerpt from Always Running that's outraged critics: "The dude looked at me through glazed eyes, horrified at my presence, at what I held in my hands, at this twisted, swollen face that came at him through the dark. Do it! were the last words I recalled before I plunged the screwdriver into flesh and bone, and the sky screamed."
On the Strength: If Rodriguez's memoir Always Running sounds raw and intense, that's because it is. A lucid, in your face account of a young man's journey from the darkest depths of barrio life-to a yearning soul, striving for the light that glimmers at the end of a tunnel. Chin (Rodriguez) a young vato loco from the mean streets of Los Angeles Califas, would do just about anything for his click, even commit murder. Living foul was all he knew, castigated by society, the revolving door from the hood' to correctional institutions swirled so fast and frequent it left young Chin feeling bitter and more hateful toward authority, and rival gangs. Drugs and violence would be his refuge-but eventually education and community involvement would become his salvation.
It is based on his biography that took place in Watts and East Los Angeles in the 1950's to the 1990's. Watts was an old community, primarily made up of black and Mexican people. It was a ghetto where country and city mixed together. East Los Angeles was also a run down community with a high rate of crime.
Ramiro, Luis' first child, has gone off again. He reminds the author of his gang days. The author fears Ramiro will cause harm to himself if nothing is done. In the preface the author talks about his family and about his life as an early journalist. The author also says that in writing the book Ramiro will change.
Always Running is the author's autobiography about moving from Mexico to Los Angelos. His family was poor and hoped to succeed one day. He did poorly in school because he and his family did not speak English. As the author grew up he experienced prejudice because he was Mexican. At ten he and his friends created 'clicas' (gangs) which they called Thee Impersonations. Luis Rodriguez was a young East L.A. gangster that had witnessed countless shootings, beatings, arrests, murders, suicides, and senseless acts of street crime by the age of twelve. Facing many tough times in his life, Luis turned to violence and gangs to get away from his problems. He felt closer to his fellow gang members than to his own mother, father, sisters, and brother. As a child, Luis never seemed to fit in: not even at school. He came from a dysfunctional family. At thirteen the author was already into drugs and gang violence. Throughout the book Luis Rodriguez talks about friends, school, gang fights, problems at home and his love life. At fifteen he was arrested and made to work. Towards the
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Crime, Criminology, Gang, Urban decay, Always Running, Crips, Luis J. Rodriguez, Thee Rascals 13, Gangs in the United Kingdom
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