- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Ships in 1 to 3 days
It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healingby Luis Rodriguez
Synopses & Reviews
Hundreds of thousands of readers came to know Luis J. Rodríguez through his fearless classic, Always Running, which chronicled his early life as a young Chicano gang member surviving the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. The long awaited follow-up, It Calls You Back, is the equally harrowing story of Rodríguez starting over, at age eighteen, after leaving gang life—the only life he really knew.
It Calls You Back opens with Rodríguez’s final stint in jail as a teenager and follows his struggle to kick heroin, renounce his former life, and search for meaningful work. He describes with heartbreaking honesty his challenges as a father and his difficulty leaving his rages and addictions completely behind. Even as he breaks with “la vida loca” and begins to discover success as a writer and an activist, Rodríguez finds that his past—the crimes, the drugs, the things he’d seen and done—has a way of calling him back.
When his oldest son is sent to prison for attempted murder, Rodríguez is forced to confront his shortcomings as a father and to acknowledge how and why his own history is repeating itself, right before his eyes.
Deeply insightful and beautifully written, It Calls You Back is an odyssey through love, addiction, revolutions, and healing.
"L.A. author and poet Rodriguez has written extensively on his redemptive turn from gang warfare and jail to self-awareness and community activism (Always Running). Here he deliberates pointedly on that journey accompanied by the safety of reflective hindsight. He fills in the details of his erratic trajectory, played out on the edge of a recklessness and anger fueled by growing up in an impoverished barrio in the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County, where many Hispanic youth get sucked into a self-perpetuating pursuit of drugs, gang life, repeated arrest, early pregnancy, blunted education, and dead-end jobs. His early life was no exception from this depressing pattern of failure: born to hardworking Mexican immigrants, a member of Las Lomas gang, pumped up on drugs, he served some months in jail in 1973 for assaulting police officers. He yearned for 'another way to go,' and managed to get clean in jail and walk away from that life, marry a like-minded young woman (she was only 18), secure a brief career at Bethlehem Steel, and get involved in issues of social justice. Even in his apprenticeship as a 'minority' journalist, however, the soreness from old wounds continued to disturb him, especially in the raising of his children from different wives. Rodriguez tells an honest, direct story, though stripped of rawness by years of reworking." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the bestselling author of Always Running, a new memoir chronicling his harrowing journey from gang member to one of the most revered figures in Chicano literature and American letters.
Growing up on the streets of East Los Angeles, Luis Rodriguez narrowly escaped a serious jail term for assaulting two police officers and then struggled to overcome his powerful addiction to heroin and alcohol. His recovery was a rich, tumultuous journey. He worked in a series of jobs; married several times; fathered four children; ran for political office; traveled the world; established a poetry press, community center, and bookstore; and became an internationally respected gang interventionist. Eventually, Rodriguez embarked on a career as a successful journalist and a highly regarded poet. But his life was no rags-to-riches fairy tale.
In It Calls You Back, Rodriguez describes with heartbreaking honesty his challenges as a husband and a father and his difficulty leaving his criminal past completely behind. Most disturbing is the terrifying realization that he cannot save his own son from the deadly lure of gang life. Luis’s emotional journey offers deep insight into barrio life and the embattled souls of those heroic men and women who risk everything to make it out—and return to help those left behind.
The follow-up to the classic memoir Alway's Running chronicles Luis Rodriguez's journey from gang life to literary fame.
About the Author
The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis J. Rodriguez began writing in his early teens and has won national recognition as a poet, journalist, fiction writer, children's book writer, and critic. Currently working as a peacemaker among gangs, Rodriguez helped create Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural, a multiarts, multimedia cultural center in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Visit him at LuisJRodriguez.com.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » American Studies » Gangs
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Latin American
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime
History and Social Science » Sociology » Gangs