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It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing [Kindle Edition]

Luis J. Rodriguez
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $10.37
You Save: $5.62 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc


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Audio, CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged $24.90  
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Book Description


Hundreds of thousands of readers came to know Luis J. Rodríguez through his fearless classic, Always Running, which chronicled his early life as a young Chicano gang member surviving the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. The longawaited follow-up, It Calls You Back, is the equally harrowing story of Rodríguez starting over, at age eighteen, after leaving gang life—the only life he really knew.

It Calls You Back opens with Rodríguez’s final stint in jail as a teenager and follows his struggle to kick heroin, renounce his former life, and search for meaningful work. He describes with heartbreaking honesty his challenges as a father and his difficulty leaving his rages and addictions completely behind. Even as he breaks with “la vida loca” and begins to discover success as a writer and an activist, Rodríguez finds that his past—the crimes, the drugs, the things he’d seen and done—has a way of calling him back.

When his oldest son is sent to prison for attempted murder, Rodríguez is forced to confront his shortcomings as a father and to acknowledge how and why his own history is repeating itself, right before his eyes.

Deeply insightful and beautifully written, It Calls You Back is an odyssey through love, addiction, revolutions, and healing.

Editorial Reviews


“Extraordinarily haunting and provocative.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Rodriguez’s account of his coming of age is vivid, raw….Here’s truth no television set, burning night and day, could ever begin to offer.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Beautifully written and politically astute.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Rodriguez’s life story is astonishing . . . It takes a heart broken open by a lifetime of sorrows to write with this wisdom and compassion. It takes a visionary to use this knowledge in service to those the world despises—troubled youth, the homeless, the incarcerated, the poor, the migrant—to be called back for those you love."

—Sandra Cisneros, author of Caramelo and The House on Mango Street

“This is a man who understands that ‘giving back’ is a natural thing to doand does it in spades. My respect for his metamorphosis can only be described as awe.”

—John Densmore, bestselling author of Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors

“Two decades ago Luis RodrÍguez became a superhero in Chicano literature with his survivor's story of a gangbanger youth. Here, again, he beautifully details his not-so-ordinary life, its tragedies and graces, but now as a son, husband, father, a worker, journalist, and successful author. With It Calls You Back, Rodriguez maps out his activist past and leads us into the future. Adelante!”

—Dagoberto Gilb, author of The Flowers and Before the End, After the Beginning

About the Author

The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodríguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children’s book writer, and critic. Rodríguez helped create Tia Chucha’s Café & Centro Cultural. Visit

Product Details

  • File Size: 3147 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00740FRDE
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T4KXEG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,042 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A follow up to "ALWAYS RUNNING" November 25, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I remember first reading Rodriquez's 'Always Running' sometime during 2008 and feeling compelled to read it from cover to cover(I grew up in the same areas as the author and felt familiar with many of the scenes he described) . Make no mistake, the author isn't any type of saint. He was involved in plenty of destructive behavior. But at the same time there is a spirit about this man that makes him compelling and interesting.

So recently when I discovered that he had released a follow-up book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. So basically 'It Calls You Back' picks up where 'Always Running' leaves off. Luis J. Rodriquez grew up in the San Gabriel Valley area and hung with the barrio click known as 'Los Lomas'.

In his first book, Rodriquez talked about his childhood hanging around his barrio and his homies. For this second book, Rodriquez gets married, has a kid, and moves away from his childhood barrio. But different kinds of trouble rear there head. Rodriguez is a driven man who likes to learn and explore but at the same time is full of anger and complex emotions.

There's a lot to be learned from this man and all the mistakes he has made; because he continually strives to move beyond his current troubles and further his knowledge of the world around him. A great book for those who grew up in similar circumstances and/or is open its message(and if you haven't yet, I recommend reading 'Always Running' first).
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Man October 4, 2011
I have known and worked with Luis for the past decade, my respect for him growing expnentially over the years. He inspires marginalized youth and old geezers like me. His words ten years ago led to my starting a poetry festival in a small Appalachian community that thrives today and inspires people to make the arts part of their lives. Luis's stories and passion and courage change lives. I salute him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing May 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is amazing. It has true and deep meaning that is great for everyone. The book was also in great condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! January 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you liked Always Running, you will like this one. I read the whole thing between two 3 hour plane rides. Its raw. Cried a few times. But Luis doesn't hold back even when he is laying his mistakes on the line.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book. January 3, 2014
By Dr Luke
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I work with teenage boys who are stuck in a similar lifestyle and I use this book as well as his other books to show them that it is possible to change and have hope for a better future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best book I have read December 16, 2013
By Jose
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well I like most of it since I have lived a ganster life all my life..and hoping to leave this life, because I have a daughter to raise
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Dedicated Fans October 8, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you were touched by Always Running, and who wouldn't be after reading it, you may be interested in reading this book. Understand that it is not the rollercoaster of outlandish experiences with gangs, violence and drugs that we get in his memoir of his earlier life. However, if you are wondering what became of the man who went through all those trials and tribulations, you will find it here. Luis Rodriguez has been such an incredible force for positive change in the world, and in this book he recounts many of those efforts while revealing that he could never fully escape many of the challenges he was dealing with as a youth--hence the title. In case you feel like things are starting to slow down three-fourths of the way through the book, keep on reading, because some of the heaviest parts come at the very end.
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More About the Author

The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodriguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Currently working as a peacemaker among gangs on a national and international level, Rodriguez helped create Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural, a multiarts, multimedia cultural center in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.


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