Random Family

Random Family

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

Book - 2004
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This New York Times bestseller intimately depicts urban life in a gripping book that slips behind cold statistics and sensationalism to reveal the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour.

In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances--Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar-- Random Family is the story of young people trying to outrun their destinies. 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 survival and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty.

Charting the tumultuous cycle of the generations--as girls become mothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation--LeBlanc slips behind the cold statistics and sensationalism and comes back with a riveting, haunting, and true story.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2004.
Edition: 1st Scribner trade paperback ed.
ISBN: 9780743254434
Characteristics: 409 p.; 23 cm.


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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.

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.

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.

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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