Monday, November 16, 2009

My Bloody Life.

This is a book written by a former Latin King from Chicago. The author's name (Raymundo Sanchez) is a pseudonym because he didn't want his real name to be used. This book is a great glimps into the world of street gangs from the perspective of a guy who fits the mold of a typical street soldier. Violence plays an important role in the book but so does the chaotic relationships between the cast of characters in this street theater. What I think I enjoyed most about the book is it's openness in describing how the violence and street lifestyle effected the author as he tries to make a life outside of the gang in the later chapters of the book. How he can't seem to chase those old ghosts away.
The book isn't a happy story. It goes through Ray's life from his memories of abuse as a child in Puerto Rico, to the racism he encountered as a young immigrant in Chicago, to his first killing of a rival gang member, to serving jailtime rather fluidly. The transition from kid to killer isn't as abrupt for Ray as alot of books of this kind often times try to make it seem. He describes the violence he dishes out very vividly but in the process of remembering his actions often times realizing the senselessness of them. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.
There is a follow up book to this one but this one is the more interesting of the two as the other book, "Once a King Always a King", is more of a personal memoir about life and challenges after gang life.

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