Robert Hironimus-Wendt's Reviews > When a Heart Turns Rock Solid: The Lives of Three Puerto Rican Brothers On and Off the Streets

When a Heart Turns Rock Solid by Timothy Black
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's review
Jul 09, 10

Read from June 28 to July 09, 2010

"When A Heart Turns Rock Solid" is a powerful and moving ethnography. Black's book belongs on the same shelf as MacLeod's "Ain't No Makin' It," Kozol's "Amazing Grace," and Kotlowitz's "There Are No Children Here." The only difference is that in this case, the children grow up, and are consumed by the streets in full view.

This is the "rest of the story" that is missing from most ethnographies of urban misery. Here, we watch as three brothers simply lose. The significance of this book is that Black takes us down the road we pray the subjects will not travel. Here we see how in far too many urban settings, children are not going to survive. As tragic and depressing as this story may be in its unfolding, it is even more important for opening our eyes to the reality of what happens to too many children who are raised in the most insurmountable of circumstances.

This is an essential reading for those interested in urban poverty.

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