Random Family Review
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Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx. The title pretty much says it all.

Welcome to the world of Jessica and Coco, two inner-city teenagers from the Bronx. We become absorbed in the lives of these complex people as they spiral toward their destinies in a dizzying portrayal of a world of drugs, gangs, prison, welfare, pregnancy and an oftentimes-bizarre perception of family.

Written in plain language (no psychobabble), LeBlanc gives an excellent reportage into street mentality as it applies to these particular people.

LeBlanc spent ten years getting to know her subjects through personal observations, personal interviews and other factual accountings. All of the characters are real. Nothing is made up, supposed or guessed. At certain points we may come to understand (although we may not agree with) why they live like they do, why they behave like they do and how the cycle can and does perpetuate itself in their children.

Did the system fail them or did they fail the system? Was there no choice or did they make poor choices?

A gripping, moving account, this book is sure to evoke a myriad of feelings and emotions: empathy, sympathy, anger, frustration, happiness and sadness. This book is harsh, at times raw. LeBlanc draws no conclusions of her own and she makes no judgments-we are left to do that on our own.

Make no mistake: this is a serious read. If you're looking for light reading, you won't find it here. And when you get through with it, give it to your kid.

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