Monique's Reviews > Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx

Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
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May 11, 12

bookshelves: la-familia-family-life
Read in October, 2011

Hmm so wanted to like this book so much more than I did, first off it is subtitled Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx, and being born in the Bronx and still claim roots there I was immediately intrigued, add that to the glowing recommmendation of a librarian friend I was psyched to read this and promptly took it with me on my week long Jamaica trip to pass the time on planes and at the beach...Not my best idea, for starters this is not and I repeat not a novel, this is a work of fiction, a literal retelling of the lives of a family of Puerto Ricans living and surviving in the Bronx..You follow two girls Jessica and Coco as they grow up, start having sex, and babies and try to make it with the little money they have..This book is a startling look at real poverty, at the abuse and need of welfare and WIC and government housing programs, it is a wakeup call for mothers with young daughters on child sexual abuse and a cautionary tale for fast teenage girls who dont think about the consequences of laying down with a cute gangster dude..It is a realistic portrayal of a poor family with more children than money and more hustles to get money than anyone would give them credit for however I cant say I all the way liked the book because the characters seemed so flat and one dimensional, I do realize it is not a fiction novel but I still think if there was focus on one person (preferably Coco she was my favorite) it would have been more touching and real whereas how it is written now you jump from person to person, with names, dates, statistics and details thrown at you and you never really connect to anyone..Jessica's life is meant to be so fantastic and fast paced as a beautiful gangsta princess but you never really get to know her so she comes off as vapid and silly and you never empathize or care about her plight..The horror of prison life and fatherless children is real and poignant and for that I recommend this as a must read for social workers and teachers but for pleasure readers like myself be warned this book will entertain you but will lose you in the rapid fire stuccato way it is told---this happened, then that happened, then this...but is a real eyeopener if you can finish...
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