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Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member Paperback – June 29, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 342 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This dispatch from a maximum-security prison chronicles Scott's transformation from a "gangbanging ghetto star" to an evangelical proponent of black nationalism.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

"Monster" Kody, today known as Sanyika Sakur, spent 16 years as a "gangbanger" in South Central Los Angeles. His account begins at age 11, when he was inducted into the ranks of the Crips, and ends (hundreds of bodies later) with Scott serving a seven-year prison term for beating a crack dealer. Throughout, he successfully conveys a sense of the siege mentality that prevails every minute of every day, due to the daily barrage of gang-on-gang violence. Names of derivative Crip gangs (e.g., Rollin' Sixties, Hoovers, Grape Street Watts Crips) and gang members (e.g., Li'l Hunchy, Tray Ball, Huckabuck) flit across the pages in a confusing manner, but Scott pushes the narrative forward with scarcely a glance backward, and, ultimately, names and incidents are not important. Unfortunately, Scott was in prison during the violence that followed last year's Rodney King incident and thus sheds little light on the peace treaty forged between the Bloods and Crips. Although unrepentant, Scott today is dedicated to ending gang violence. Recommended for most collections.
- Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802141447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802141446
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (342 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This autobiography does not lend itself well to being rated, since it basically consists of two different parts. The first one is a fascinating and insightful description of a childhood and a youth spent in one of the country's most gang-ridden and dangerous neighborhoods, South Central L.A. This part deserves four stars. The second one is an endless tirade of how society has done the author wrong. This part deserves none. As a result, I could not give the book more than two stars.
Kody Scott tells with verve how he grew up to become one of L.A.'s most notorious teenage gangsters. A shocking and frightening account of boys gone mad, killing other kids for the mere fact of wearing the wrong color, or living on the wrong street corner. What sets Kody's story apart is the fact that he is a first-person narrator (albeit, it seems, with the help of a professional writer), whereas other authors have based their books about gang-life on observations and interviews. As a result, readers will learn more from Kody about gang members' motivations and feelings than they ever could from an author who has not been affiliated with gang-life him- or herself.
However, the second part of the book, Kody's description of his life in prison and his conversion to a black nationalist, is downright pathetic. He constantly blames others for the choices he made in life: His parents he calls "promiscuous" and "irresponsible", society ("the system") he accuses of "oppressing every person of color". The horrible acts of violence he has committed he plays down as "wrongdoings ... things that were morally wrong based on the human code of ethics". He tries to make his readers believe that there is an automatism: Every kid from a poor neighborhood will invariably end up as a gang member.
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Format: Paperback
I was very pleased with Monster in that Kody Scott did not use these stories for personal glory, but rather showed the shocking realities of gang warfare and the problems which occur in a neighborhood like South Central Los Angeles. The book breaks down several stereotypical barriers, as Scott's eloquent voice gives the reader a real perspective of his thoughts and the politics inside the Crips, who battle the enemy Bloods. It's an outrage how little is published about gang warfare and the amount of people who are killed on a daily basis in these gang wars. I also enjoyed how Scott stayed true to himself and his readers as he used the actual gang names, and the slang that is involved in the 'hood. This brought a real element of realism to the story and I believed from the start that this story was absolutely true. I also liked Scott's personal transformation from gangster to muslim activist, even though he is still a little extreme in his beliefs and even actions. One thing I think that Scott could have done better would be the less-than-smooth transitions from the streets to the various juvenile halls and prisons. At times I found myself wondering,"What landed him in jail this time?" as it seemed like important events in the story were left out. The story was very graphic and depressing throughout, so I would definitely not recommend this to anyone who gets overly scared or wants to keep their life as sheltered and safe as possible in thinking this kind of thing doesn't go on. I would also not recommend it to any of these Eminem wannabes who think the streets are the only answers to the problems in their life, and that gangsters like these are cool. Make no mistake, these guys are murderers and criminals, and are not meant to be role models.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started this memoir with very high hopes. It started off good, but quickly dwindled after that. After watching several Kody Scott interviews, I found it extremely difficult to believe he actually wrote this book. I also felt he spent far too much time blaming society for his own flaws instead of taking responsibility for his heinous actions. It's easy to point the finger at parents, authorities and the LA Police Department, but what about HIMSELF? The memoir then becomes a pretentious account of gang life in LA. I didn't feel sorry for Kody Scott at any point, which is what I'm sure he wanted from the reader. Not buying it. Sorry.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know, it's an inside read but overall the whole story is really harrowing. It's a very common story or at least seems to be with any human of any race that joins a gang or a criminal organization of any sort and that is money isn't around and the family bond isn't that strong. The frustration leads to acting out and going somewhere else to look for some sort of bond or pride. So long story short "Monster" found a gang at age 11 and was doing shootings with a bicycle as transportation, it's a crazy story in of itself. The part that is harrowing is the blame of society itself, somehow society is responsible for all of his circumstances and the actions he took (he references not wanting to be a victim, like I get it but I don't get the extremism of it, seems more like alpha male stuff). It's pretty much hopeless, his story started before the drug infusion where the money became really big for gangs and looking at how he fought just for his gang and what corporations are willing to do for money, what is someone in a gang who can't read or write going to care? I mean read it, see what it's like and what the culture was because it has changed with drug money, but understand the whole of what this was and how it has become so much bigger, the only thing it made me think was Chicago is screwed.
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