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Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid [Kindle Edition]

Evelyn Lau
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Even as a six-year-old child, Evelyn Lau already knew what she would be in life -- a writer. She would spend countless hours in her room writing short stories and poems trying to avoid the suffocating reality surrounding her. At the age of fourteen, forbidden by her strict parents to “waste” any more of her time writing, Evelyn did the only thing she felt she could do -- she ran away.

For two years, Lau lived on the streets of Vancouver. For a while she embraced her new life, seduced by the sense of freedom and independence from the pressures of school and family. But like so many others before her, Lau soon fell into a dangerous spiral of drug addiction and prostitution. During her two harrowing years on the street, Lau’s writing ambition never left her; almost obsessively, she kept a written record of her days on the street; this record is Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid.

A bestselling memoir, Runaway is a story of survival: physical, emotional and psychological. It is at times tragic, sometimes infuriating, but always honest and inspired; Runaway makes no apologies and offers no solutions. It is a vivid and frightening portrait of a young girl’s life on the street.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lau's journal, a best seller in her native Canada, is a brutally frank account of her life on the streets of Vancouver after running away from a traditional Chinese home at the age of 14. Her extremely repressive parents forbade Evelyn from creative writing, which was both her obsession and, later, the key to her survival: "Who am I if not a writer? It's all I have-this pile of crumpled paper that follows me everywhere in my backpack, words breathing life, my existence." Her chronicles of time spent in and out of social service and psychiatric care, recurrent drug usage, prostitution out of sheer desperation, plus several suicide attempts are told with unflinching honesty that perhaps could be conveyed only by an author that young. The abuse and humiliation she suffers, similar to that portrayed in Fresh Girls and Other Stories (LJ 2/95), is often difficult to digest. While the self-absorption of a depressed 14-year-old with adolescent ideas of grandiosity does get slightly repetitive, Lau's fervent devotion to her writing (throughout her ordeals she continued to keep her journal) and her naked desire to be loved strikes the reader with a touching poignancy. Recommended, especially for women's studies collections.
Marcie S. Zwaik, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 440 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00563KSCQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,933 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and true September 19, 2000
By A Customer
First of all, I'm horrified to see what some of the other people put in here about Runaway. I have the utmost admiration for Evelyn Lau because she had to struggle to get out of hooking and drug use. This book is very depressing but it's a reflect of a real human being's experiences, not a fictional chracter. As a non-white person growing up in Canada, I can understand the pressures that she had to conform to the society around her while trying to balance the messages that she got from home. There are no role models for people like us and there's often no one to talk to who can truly understand what it's like to be a visible minority, unless they have gone through the experience themselves. I think that's changing now, but that support wasn't available for minorities growing up in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.
There are very few exceptional people in this world and I think that Evelyn Lau is one of those people. She had to make her own values and create her own niche for herself and made a lot of mistakes doing it. But, she wasn't afraid to tell the world about them and help others learn from her mistakes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Runaway Story From An Exceptional Person July 6, 2002
I felt, very, very moved by Runaway. It is a typical runaway story, but what is not typical was that the author is gifted with a great intelligence and writing ability. Evelyn wanted to be a writer from age six, and she started getting published at age twelve. Her very neurotic mother was murdering her emotionally, so at age fourteen, she ran away from home. She went into the expected downward spiral into prostitution and drugs addiction. But Evelyn kept a journal through the two years she was on the street, and the process of journaling was a major factor in her survival.
As a minor she was under the care of government social services, which included outpatient psychiatric care. In her journal, besides all the explicit details of drugs, prostitution, and life on the street, she works through the whole therapeautic process. As drama it is very compelling. As we observe her trying to change her situation, one starts to view her as a hero rather than a victim. It becomes like a movie where we are in anxious suspense to see how the hero gets out of each predicament. We cheer her successes and wince in frustration and disappointment every time she returns to drugs or turning tricks. Her psychiatrists were magnificent. Someone studying to be a therapist could use this book as a case study in runaways, drugs, child prostitution and how a patient responds to therapy. I particularly liked her inner dialogues. She will surface one set of emotions, then surface other conflicting emotions and wrestle them to the ground. Once she gets something resolved, it�s on to the next set of emotions. She works all this out in her therapy session and in her journal.
I must say that as the father of two children I have had a more poignant reaction to this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Ann Frank April 15, 2003
Once you start this book, Evelyn becomes you. I had to just keep reading and finish it, desperate for a happy ending. It is the TRUE diary of a young girl - dabbling in prositution, drugs, therapy and homelessness. This book offers great insight in to the mind of a adolesent, and reminds one of a not so distant past of battling the same demons. Evelyn's world view is set to critique all that crosses her path...including our correctional services, family services, and basic social acceptability. Pretty smart for a 15 year old. Many wonderful thoughts, feelings and ideas can be gained from reading this book. I would recommend this book as required reading for youths who typically DON'T read. Its a great starting point and is sure to capture their attention. But nonetheless...a great story that in the end, any reader feels privilaged to have been on the journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give her a break! November 2, 2001
It's several years now since Evelyn Lau wrote this book and she's gone on to write more great stuff! Having just heard and seen her speak at a Writers Festival in Australia, I can assure the doubters that she would indeed have written every word of Runaway. She remains passionately addicted to her writing and this passion has continued to affect her life. Have a look at "Inside Out : Reflections on a Life So Far ".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking November 8, 1999
By A Customer
This is a story of a brilliant girl who trapped who herself in one of the worst strata of society there is. She writes from the heart and she strikes deep. I thought about this book for months. It touched me deeply. I only hope the author has come out of the other side of it and is at peace with herself and achieves her goals. It seems these other reviewers were just unable to fathom what this woman went through. I mean no criticism, the thought of being in this girl's shoes is a hard to face. A deeply moving statement of the human condition.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little girl lost speaks out (very eloquently) February 12, 1997
By A Customer
"Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid" by Evelyn Lau deals with a subject often treated by the media, by social science articles and any number of mags from charitable organisations. This book, however, is a painfully accurate day-by-day tale of the author's personal ordeal while searching for love in places where love is a dirty condom. Obligatory reading for anyone who deals with this problem professionally or otherwise - or anyone who wants to read about the details of the night! - My only doubt is this: How much has the text been worked over by editors before publication? Is this really the unchanged diary entries of a girl of 14-15-16? (Anders Blichfeldt, Denmark
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Evelyn Lau-Contemporary Artistic Genius
I've read a good many non-fiction-autobiographies. This book is the most viscerial yet cerebral, poignant, vulnerably heart-wretching; Honest, courageous mind boggling work of... Read more
Published on December 11, 2006 by DreamPark 9
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Me. I'm A Victim And It Is Everybody Else's Fault!
This is a very tiresome and tedious book about a girl named Evelyn who ran away from home at the age of 14 because her mother yelled a lot and her father was out of work most of... Read more
Published on August 18, 2006 by John Baranyai
2.0 out of 5 stars Teenage ennui
Before reading this I had high expectations of it. After reading it, mostly in between classes, I'm sadly disappointed. Read more
Published on August 1, 2006 by D. Ngan
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable document, less than remarkable
This is a document Evelyn kept from a remarkable phase of her life as a drug addict and prostitute on the streets of Vancouver, and a teenage and ethnic one at that. Read more
Published on April 9, 2005 by Myles Delta Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Runaway Story From An Exceptional Person
I felt, very, very moved by Runaway. It is a typical runaway story, but what is not typical was that the author is gifted with a great intelligence and writing ability. Read more
Published on July 6, 2002 by Stephen M. Bauer
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired, drab, and lusterless... how I'd describe "Runaway." A collection of diary/journal entries, the book highlights and ups and downs (a lot of downs and very few ups) of the author's life as a... Read more
Published on June 25, 2002 by Mike_Lee
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
There are so many kids that have a real and substantial reason to run away and live on the street - to avoid further abuse, etc. Read more
Published on May 16, 2002 by Valarie Cumming
3.0 out of 5 stars yawn...snooze
Ok I tried 3 times to read this book but ended up totally bored with it(this is rare). I work with many kids on the street, their stories are more intersting for book form. Read more
Published on March 28, 2000
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