Random Family

Random Family

Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx

Book - 2003
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Random Family tells the American outlaw saga lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. With an immediacy made possible only after ten years of reporting, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses the reader in the mind-boggling intricacies of the little-known ghetto world. She charts the tumultuous cycle of the generations, as girls become mothers, mothers become grandmothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation. Two romances thread through Random Family: the sexually charismatic nineteen-year-old Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and fourteen-year-old Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar, an aspiring thug. Fleeing from family problems, the young couples try to outrun their destinies. Chauffeurs whisk them to getaways in the Poconos and to nightclubs. They cruise the streets in Lamborghinis and customized James Bond cars. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between life and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George's business activities; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty. Together, then apart, the teenagers make family where they find it. Girls look for excitement and find trouble; boys, searching for adventure, join crews and prison gangs. Coco moves upstate to dodge the hazards of the Bronx; Jessica seeks solace in romance. Both find that love is theonly place to go. A gifted prose stylist and a profoundly compassionate observer, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has slipped behind the cold statistics and sensationalism surrounding inner-city life and come back with a riveting, haunting, and true urban soap opera that reveals the clenched grip of the streets. Random Family is a compulsive read and an important journalistic achievement, sure to take its place beside the classics of the genre.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2003
ISBN: 9780684863870
0684863871
Call Number: 974.7275 L4922r
Characteristics: 408 p. ; 24 cm

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j
Jodi13
Feb 28, 2018

This book will stick with me for quite awhile. I can't imagine the hours of research, interviews and observations the author logged to show a family in the Bronx.

r
redtayres
Feb 16, 2018

I can't recall the first time I read this but suffice to say, reading it a second time it still holds up.

Perhaps the author could have gotten by with fewer pages and left the reader with the same impressions but page after page after page and a case is built: these people are entrenched in a situation that they're unlikely to escape from and still, their lives have joy amongst the heartbreak.

What I'd love were photos of the characters and since it's been so many years now, I'd love an update on what happened in the years since the author stopped following these families. For now, consuming this book a second time will suffice.

b
bronteside
Aug 05, 2014

Not for the faint of heart. Leave your middle class comfort zone and know you can return after spending 11 years and four hundred pages with the saddest,scariest and most resourceful creatures poverty can buy.
LeBlanc is unflinchingly honest and fair in her portrait of four people who make bad choices,but go on. Incredible work.

s
sarahfox
Apr 24, 2014

Honest, captivating and moving, this book is all consuming. Exactly everything I could have hope for and more, I would absolutely add this book to your list of "must-reads"

christinafullofgrace Feb 02, 2014

This book is fantastic!!! It was a great easy read because I was so interested in the content its a very sad but raw and truthful exposure to what occurs in so many areas not only in New York.

TreyMendez Nov 21, 2011

This story delves into the hidden New York that only gets ink in the police blotter, but it's the New York of the kid next to you on the 2 train on Monday morning.

When I ran the New York office of an anti-poverty nonprofit I made this required reading for all employees telling them "this is what we're up against."

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