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There Are No Children Here, the true story of brothers Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, ages 11 and 9 at the start, brings home the horror of trying to make it in a violence-ridden public housing project. The boys live in a gang-plagued war zone on Chicago's West Side, literally learning how to dodge bullets the way kids in the suburbs learn to chase baseballs. "If I grow up, I'd like to be a bus driver," says Lafeyette at one point. That's if, not when--spoken with the complete innocence of a child. The book's title comes from a comment made by the brothers' mother as she and author Alex Kotlowitz contemplate the challenges of living in such a hostile environment: "There are no children here," she says. "They've seen too much to be children." This book humanizes the problem of inner-city pathology, makes readers care about Lafeyette and Pharoah more than they may expect to, and offers a sliver of hope buried deep within a world of chaos.
The devastating story of brothers Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, children of the Chicago ghetto, is powerfully told here by Kotlowitz, a Wall Street Journal reporter who first met the boys in 1985 when they were 10 and seven, respectively. Their family includes a mother, a frequently absent father, an older brother and younger triplets. We witness the horrors of growing up in an ill-maintained housing project tyrannized by drug gangs and where murders and shootings frequently occur. Lafayette tries to cope by stifling his emotions and turning himself into an automaton, while Pharoah first attempts to regress into early childhood and then finds a way out by excelling at school. Kotlowitz's affecting report does not have a "neat and tidy ending. . . . It is, instead, about a beginning, the dawning of two lives." These are lives at a crossroads, not totally without hope of triumphing over their origin. ( Apr .
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I really liked this book. Good insight into a problem. I wanted to know more at the end.Published 16 days ago by Scubamom
I had a difficult time reading this memoir. It was confusing at times and redundant throughout the book. I could not get to the point of carrying about the characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lynne Scholfield
Great book, I loved it! It will make you want to go find out what happens to these two boys when the book ends. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read a good book!Published 2 months ago by snowed in
DETAILED, gritty account of poverty and children and adults caught in a web of hopelessness.....all yuppies need to read!!Published 3 months ago by rebecca delgadillo
I read his book for a social work class, and it truly broke my heart to lean if the conditions of CHA. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Keisha Clark