Friday, April 6, 2012

Random Family: A Review

Today I'm going to share with you my thoughts on the book Random Family.

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc did an AMAZING job with this TRUE story.

This is just a little blurb on the back cover that kind of sums it up best I think.

Charting the tumultuous cycle of the generations - as girls become mothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles to against deprivation - LeBlanc slips behind the cold statistics and sensationalism and comes back with a riveting, haunting, and true story.

Basically the book is about this family and their various offspring. It talks about the struggles these  people have growing up in the Bronx, their aspirations to get out, and the cycles that they go through with their relationships.

Overall, this book was a little hard for me to read. Not because it was graphic or awful or anything, it's just really heavy at times. There were moments when I couldn't put it down and then moments when I couldn't get through it. I think it was very well written, and the author was so honest (probably because, as she explains at the end, she was witnessing it. It wasn't all being retold to her by these people, and then her re-telling it again). 
I loved the fact that it was true. True stories are so much better to me than fictional ones when it comes to these kinds of topics. Reading something and knowing "wow, this person really truly went through this" rather than saying "I guess that could happen to someone..." really makes a difference to me. It was emotional. It made me feel angry, sad, and upset.

One of the things I didn't like was that there were SOOOO many characters. So many people coming in and out of the story. I know that she had to include them because they were real people that were really involved in these people's lives, but it was hard to keep them straight at sometimes. I kept finding myself saying "okay, so whose baby daddy was that?" or "I thought that was so and so's brother... but I guess not?"
The other thing I didn't like was the way it ended. Throughout the book you become so invested in these peoples lives and stories that you want to know how it ends. You want to know if the characters make it out of the ghetto. You want to know if someone's daughter ends up making the right choices and ending the cycle. You want to know if the two people you want to end up together do. It ended really abruptly and that made me a little mad. I would have liked it to have a little chapter that says "ten years later, this is where Coco and Cesar's relationship is" or "by the time Serena was 20 she was pregnant with her third child from yet another father".

Anyways, this is a long review, but the book was one that I couldn't sum my feelings up for in a quick paragraph or two.
I do recommend that you go out and read it. It's a good book and it is a really good perspective about how other people grew up and are still having to live. I read a lot of blogs and see that people are able to buy a pair of shoes that cost $350 or they drive Range Rovers and BMWs.... it makes me feel poor. But reading this book really puts it into perspective how blessed we really are.


Megan said...

Sounds like a good book! Although I do hate when I can't keep up with characters and I have to keep backtracking to remember who they are!

rkjalernpan said...

I just added this to my to read list for the year. Your comment about adding things like reminding people to lift with their legs, to your resume made me giggle. thanks for the laugh!

Heather said...

I hate when books have a million characters!