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All God's Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 29, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (January 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483099
  • ASIN: B0012BTC14
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Denfeld brings to light the elaborate structure and culture of the "families" that harbor the reported 1.5 million teenagers living on the streets of the U.S. Based on a decade of research, his intimate portrait of this fantasy-fueled, violent subculture—populated almost exclusively by teens from white, middle-class homes—is gory and shocking. He spares no details in describing cold characters, cultish rituals and murders, often from the perspective of those involved. Though the anecdotes are intriguing, and Denfeld brings some perspective to the psychology of these street families, he doesn't evaluate the larger cultural forces that have brought them together or their effect on society. Still, this is a powerful study of the dramatic measures that a growing number of lonely teenagers will take to feel like they belong. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A chilling look into the culture of feral teens that emerged nationwide in the 1990s" -- Elle Magazine

"All God's Children reminds us--and shames us--that these are our kids. And we are losing them." -- High Country News, January 22, 2007

"[a] riveting work of narrative nonfiction...[an] extensively researched and lyrical account reads as smoothly as any novel." -- Cincinnati City Beat, April 11, 2007

"a sharply written, fascinating, yet disturbing book." -- Time Out Chicago, February 15, 2007

"penetrates the violent, cultlike and secretive world of street kids" -- Portland Tribune , January 26, 2007

More About the Author

Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, and death penalty investigator. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is the author of nonfiction books, including the international bestseller The New Victorians, Kill The Body, The Head Will Fall; and All God's Children. Her debut novel, The Enchanted (Harper 2014) was recently published to much acclaim, including a nomination for the esteemed Flaherty-Dunnan fiction prize. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her three children, all adopted from foster care.

Customer Reviews

Very informative without being overly sensational.
Karen E. Baddeley
Both have done a great deed by putting this in writing & letting the truth be heard, by those who will listen.
Diane Tye
This was a very real and graphic look into the lifes of those who live on the streets of Portland.
leslie cooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kathy M on February 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a disturbing and challenging look at the growing culture of street kids and the street families evolving in cities around us.

As a teacher I watched bright students, with great home lives, grow up and be drawn into dangerous groups. Some ended up on the streets. Danielle, one of the youths responsible for the murder in Portland, could have been one of my students.

As someone who works in an urban area and comes in daily contact with the growing number of kids who are living on the street, the book rang true to my experience. As a parent and educator it is information that is timely and important. Why are so many young people choosing danger and violence? Why is the life on the street drawing bright kids who have other options? What is the street culture offering them and how do we respond?

This will be a hard read for those in social service agencies who find themselves working so hard to earn the trust of street kids. If what Denfeld writes is true, then they will need to modify the way they provide services to keep from enabling kids to stay out on the street. This may well be a new paradigm, one where some kids on the street are victims but just as many are volunteers.

I hope this book helps to begin a dialogue about what is happening to the teens in our families and in our communities.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stormy on May 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rene Denfeld does an excellent job showing us how foreign the street kid culture is from the society that surrounds them and how easy it is for new kids to fall into it.

In college, I volunteered at the Covenant House. Every Thursday from 7-10pm we would drive around the worst parts of Houston handing out sandwiches and juice packs to the homeless and letting them know that any homeless kids were welcome back at the Covenant House.

What impressed me the most was how different the homeless adults were from the teenagers. The adults were what you would expect homeless to be like. Some depressed, some hungry, some listless, some drunk, some too embarrassed to tell their kids they were living on the streets, usually grateful for a sandwich or a clean pair of socks. The kids on the other hand were on an adventure. None of them ever came back to the Covenant House with us. They always had someone to stay with, or a car to ride in to Las Vegas, ... places to go, things to see. And they never seemed hungry. Full of hope. And then I would listen to them talk and be just horrified. I will always remember the conversation between two fifteen year old girls, with babies in their laps, talking about the job they had the night before at a strip club. The way they had been treated was inhumane. (I tried - unsuccessfully - to get all my friends to avoid strip clubs in Houston forever.) Yet these girls just took it in stride. At the time, I thought it was because they were kids and kids had more hope and maybe more strength and flexibility. After reading Rene Denfeld's book All God's Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families, I now think it's because they live in an alternate reality, a completely different culture, than the rest of us.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Carol on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having many years experience working with youth on the streets I have yet to come across ONE who has chosen a life of homelessness. While Denfeld writes of one horrifying situation she unfortunately connects this violence to all street youth. However, this is dangerously wrong, and paints a demonizing picture of youth who are surviving on the streets against all odds. There is already a stigma regarding homeless youth, and I fear Denfeld is perpetuating a damaging myth that these youth are from loving homes and choosing a life of homelessness...All she is doing is harming an already vulnerable population, and swaying the public from supporting their own children. Most of the youth I work with on the streets are there because their life at home was shockingly abusive, and the streets were safer. They are survivors in every sense of the word, they are nonviolent, often working, intelligent and engaging individuals who daily fight against a society who finds it easier to judge them than to realize the alarming rate of family trauma that is forcing children to leave their homes to search for safety on the streets. As a society we need to come together to allow these children to reach their amazing potential, not blame them for having been born to unsafe families. Yes, the story Denfeld wrote of is tragic, but it is so far from what happens on the street she was wrong to imply this violence as the norm. The streets are not fun, simply surviving day to day is no life, it is not a glamorous existence, it is often frightening, frustrating and painful. Anyone who asserts that youth chose a life on the streets is sadly misinformed, and I believe choosing to remain ignorant because they are simply not strong enough to realize how many thousands of children have been thrown in this country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Slater on February 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The narative jumped around way too much. The author made many child like mistakes, like the use of num chucks, instead of the correct nun chucks. She knows nothing of the game Dungeons and Dragons and her many references to it seem to be refering to a completely different game.

The subject matter is very fascinating and was the sole reason I finished the book.
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