Friday, February 13, 2015

GHETTOSIDE by Jill Leovy

GHETTOSIDE by Jill Leovy is a gritty but realistic depiction of life in the streets, particularly South Central LA., as it was called before the city tried to change the name to South Los Angeles due to the stigma as a crime-ridden murder and gang capital. This is the true story of the grim complexities of life growing up black. Targeted by police, young black men are the victims of prejudice, but also the victims of themselves, as they kill each other in record numbers. Told from a reporter's viewpoint, with intimate knowledge of shootings, the audiobook is read with Frontline tone skill by Rebecca Lowman. All sides in the tragedy of various cases are shown, and the detectives on the beat must wade through apathy and rage to get at the truth. One relentless detective in particular, John Skaggs, is followed into alleys "more dangerous than Iraq." Weeping family and friends must be pushed aside from dying children in order to save them, and as anger mounts, the police get caught up in the emotion and over-react. The cycle of violence is reinforced, from fear to a sense of outrage at injustice. But what is justice? And how can peace be achieved to break the grip of hopelessness? Do gangster rap lyrics help? Albums sell in the millions for 50 Cent and others, and are purchased by young blacks, who are 25 times more likely to commit murders (and go to jail) than the general population. This audiobook should be listened to, instead. AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH.  For fiction based on fact, try WHORESON: The Story of a Ghetto Pimp by Donald Goines.

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