It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing
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It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Growing up on the streets of East L.A., Luis Rodriguez narrowly escaped a serious jail term and then struggled to overcome his powerful addiction to heroin and alcohol. Eventually, Rodriguez embarked on a career as a successful journalist and a highly regarded poet. In It Calls You Back, Rodriguez describes with heartbreaking honesty his challenges as a husband and a fathe...more
Playaway, w/earbuds
Published October 15th 2011 by Dreamscape Media/Playaway (first published October 4th 2011)
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Daniel




It Calls You Back is a self indulgent memoir that rambles through sexual encounters and personal discovery, interspersed with insufficient descriptions of important union work and journalism. All of this is topped off by the author's obvious realization that he has neglected his son, who has become the kind of thug that Rodriguez' work sought to rehabilitate. This fact is sadly ironic, especially with every accolade mentioned and each name dropped. I've heard Always Running is good, but I doubt...more
Lauren Zelaya
Very honest and some parts are more difficult than others to read, and the second half is definitely richer than the first. Rodríguez tells a lot about negotiating his identity as a Latino born and living in the US but visiting Mexico and Central America--always feeling like somewhat of an outsider-- and later finding his roots as a part native person, finding that spirituality, and learning how to be a father which helps him stay clean. He is very honest and admits his faults throughout. His re...more
James Thompson
It was preety good. it didn't really fit my humanitarian topic well but i ended up finding other things that were important to me in the book.
if i had to choose a book all over again this one would be top 3 for sure. it was a great read and gave great insight into what life in the streets is really like instead of the watered down version we see in the media. it portrayed the hardships of everyday life and showed me some of the difficulties i might face as an adult. over all one of my top 5 favo...more
Evelyn
This book was in the discard section of my puiblc library. When I saw who the author was I immediateluy picked it up.

I had no idea Luis Rodriguez wrote a continuation to Always Running. As with that one, this was an amazing read that I found hard to put down. It's different because now we get to see Louie grown and living life as an adult out of the gang scene. Being from Chicago, I enjoyed reading about his time spent here and referencing not only my neighborhood but many amazing organizations...more
Arnoldo Garcia
Snap Review
It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing by Luis J. Rodriguez. A Touchstone Book published by Simon & Schuster, October 2011.

Luis J. Rodgriguez memoir it Calls You Back is exceptional story telling. Few books, far too few, are published telling the ordinary stories of the working class, survivors of the underclass, the underdogs, who too often prey on each other. Following his initial memoir "Always Running," about his youth as a gang member i...more
Sara
I couldn't do it. I read half of this and put it down for good, and I will probably never return to give Mr. Rodriguez a third try. I read Always Running, because it's one of those books that you should read if you care about youth, and violence, and what is going on in the city, all things I care about profoundly, and all things I was in the midst of until relatively recently. His writing craft is OK, I don't think it's exemplary or unique, but he can produce a reasonably gripping narrative. My...more
Amanda Byrne
It took me some time to finish this, but that's not the fault of the author. Picking up, in a manner of speaking, where his previous memoir (Always Running: La Vida Loca Gang Life in LA) left off, Rodriguez struggles to adjust to life without his homeboys, being a good father and husband, turning to alcohol to fill the absence of drugs in his life, all the while trying to find a job and keep writing. Eventually he succeeds, becoming a journalist, traveling to Central America to see first hand th...more
Kadija Mills
I really enjoyed his first book and this year being my senior year in my leadership development class we had to choose a book of a person who inspired our lives and I decided to find and read his second book and it took a while but I finally found it and I enjoyed every piece. His life is very interesting and I love the way people as you enter but I enjoyed being able to feel and see through his eyes it was amazing.
Halle
Experiencing, much less moving beyond a gang and drug / alcohol filled existence is something most of us thankfully will never experience. Something most of us would never be able to live through. Luis did, not as a saint, but as a human being with faults, doubts, setbacks and mistakes, but yet still striving towards a better self. This being said, I found myself skipping a lot of passages in this work that added nothing to the depth of the story / struggle other than a listing of "whose who" wi...more
Laura
This was so great. Rodriguez's life as an activist and father and recovering gangster/alcoholic and poet. I liked it so much better than La Vida Loca because he is mature and talks about the women in his life with respect and acknowledgement of his part in the problems he had with his wives. It's sad to see his own life reflected in that of his son, but it's also very heartening to read how he supported his son as best he could and tried to fix his mistakes. I could not put the book down and rea...more
Phino Deleon
Although, I have to agree with other posts about the stretches in the book that make this read longer, I personally still found this to be a good read. Be prepared avid reader, this book will have you asking whether you should keep reading at times, keep pushing because it is worth getting to the end.
Christian Cordero
I think that this book was good because it describes how the author lived his life and all the ups and downs he had. The problems he encountered he had to get over them to live a good drug free life with his family. Through out this book it shows how he evolved from being a gang member to helping gang members get out of the gang that they were in. Besides that it also talked about how he helped the raza not be against each other or kill each other.
April
In his acclaimed non-fiction work Always running, Luis Rodriguez chronicled his experiences in San Gabriel Valley/LA County gangs.
The story continues with Rodriguez's being released from jail. Rodriguez vows to change his life for the better. However, inner demons plague him through his romantic & family relationships and community work. Rodriguez will sadly discover history repeating itself in his son Ramiro's battles.
Trista
I was hoping that this book would describe how Luis was able to achieve and maintain sobriety. While it touched on this theme, most of the book was about his activism and his many women and children. To me, his story lacked depth- it more or less reported on various subjects. He does have a background as a reporter but he is also a poet. The poet side of his writing didn't seem to spring forth.
Neal
I tried but I couldn't finish it. Repetitive, bad writing kept me from finishing. The author has overcome a lot and I would love to meet him -- but I just can't get through the book. Maybe in a couple of years.
Lizbeth
What i thought about the book was that it was interesting. Luis shares some of the most important things that happened in his life, and how he got threw everything. And i like how he helps his own son get out of the problems he was in. Also what he does for other people, and for his family. I would recommend this book to people who like to read nonfiction and about peoples life's.
Kari Hansen
It shouldn't be surprising that this book was full of struggle...Rodriguez' life was full of struggle and it's not easy to get out of the web of violence, alcoholism, and multiple girlfriends. The significant part of his life devoted to organizing was impressive, although I would have liked to hear more about how his thinking around it developed.
Grace P.
Bravo. For making it through alive the situations that kill so many. For finding your way into the healing process for the blows that life deals to humans. For being open and honest in this book. And for working to make this country a better place.
Esther
I didn't read the prequels to this book, so I probably don't have a good understanding of Luis's story. I thought it was a very inspirational book, and I was really happy to learn about his past and all of this struggles.
Emily Eck
Always running was raw, but this was even more so. I fought back tears too many times to count while I read this on a plane from Chicago to Monterrey.
Lisa Anderson
Interesting life, but I couldn't help being repeatedly angry about his choices, especially regarding his children.
John
Very interesting autobiography that picks up after the great "Always Running".
Vee
Apr 13, 2012 Vee rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fathers, parents,
Good book, great story. Now I need to read his book Always Running.
Mindy


Not what I was expecting
Jayeff
Enjoyed the book very much. Thank you!!
Melissa
After thoroughly enjoying Always Running (my students love it, too), I was expecting a bit more from this book, which is advertised as a sequel to Always Running. This new book was still interesting, although I don't think my students will be as fired up about this one...
Stephen
Stephen marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
Jordan
Jordan marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
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Luis J. Rodríguez (b. 1954) is a poet, journalist, memoirist, and author of children’s books, short stories, and novels. His documentation of urban and Mexican immigrant life has made him one of the most prominent Chicano literary voices in the United States. Born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, Rodríguez grew up in Los Angeles, where in his teen yearshe joined a gang, lived on th...more
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