Shawn's Reviews > There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America

There are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

really liked it
Read from January 08 to February 03, 2011

What a powerful view this book provides into life for children in "the projects!" The real circumstances that these kids live in are just unbelievable. Reading this certainly gave me a dose of gratitude. When we lived in Minneapolis we lived fairly close to several high-rise, low-income housing projects buildings. They were nicknamed the "crack stacks," and the few times I accompanied missionaries there for visits always made me feel like I was being watched and like it was not a very safe area. But that was nothing like what I read about in this story of the Chicago housing project conditions. Some of the little details described were just crazy to consider--like how the bathtub faucet didn't work and would run burning hot water out day and night, 24x7, for years apparently. And then in the winter the indoor temperatures would reach 85 degrees for the lower level units, and the only control was to open a window. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. The drugs, killings, broken families, and violence are just hard to imagine living with. But through it all some kids (certainly a very small minority) managed to at least avoid the drug and gang influence--at least for a while. It is a heartbreaking book to read, but an important one. Every American should know what it is like to live in these neglected parts of our country so that hopefully we can find ways to break the cycles of poverty, drugs, gangs, broken schools, and broken families. I'd love to hear where Pharoah, one of the main kids the author follows, is at now and how life for him is going.

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