Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival

Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival
February 28th 2008 by Riverhead Hardcover

A stunning memoir of a mixed-race girl growing up in gang-ridden South Central LA, where she followed her foster brothers in to the Bloods before she hit puberty: what she witnessed, how she survived, and-against all odds-thrived.

That is a robust portrait of life in L.A.'s gangland and drug trade as told through one household: an individual, overworked grandmother, her two grandsons (who drop out of school and become Bloods before puberty), her two crack-baby granddaughters, and the foster child-the author-who involves live with them at age eight, joins the gang, and defies the chances then, using education to climb her way to avoid it.

After her two foster brothers were "jumped in" by the Bloods at ages twelve and thirteen, Margaret-renamed "Bree" in her new street life-followed their example. At twelve she was making deliveries for local dealers in the gang. On her behalf thirteenth birthday she received her own gun. At sixteen, forced to discover a real way to keep carefully the water from being shut down in her foster home, she learned to cook crack cocaine. After soon, she fell in love for the very first time, dating a practiced gang member until he was sentenced alive in prison. We take notice of the full lives of these characters from childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood. For some, this implies carrying out a trajectory of crime, pregnancy, imprisonment-and ultimately, death. But also for Margaret, her apparent intelligence, will, and tenacity-aided by sheer luck-enable her to liberate, to graduate from senior high school, and university then. The strength of this book is testament to the impressive adult she has become.

This unvarnished, humanizing portrait of individuals residing in urban poverty transcends both statistics and stereotypes, and reveals the energy of family in a chaotic world-and the poignancy of smart, philosophical teens who dream of a safer life looking forward to them beyond the streets.