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Synopses & Reviews
A stunning memoir of a mixed-race girl growing up in gang-ridden South Central Los Angeles, where she followed her foster brothers into the Bloods before she hit puberty: what she witnessed, how she survived, and-against all odds-thrived.
This is a powerful portrait of life in L.A.'s gangland and drug trade as told through one household: a single, overworked grandmother, her two grandsons (who drop out of school and become Bloods before puberty), her two crack-baby granddaughters, and the foster child-the author-who comes to live with them at age eight, joins the gang, and then defies the odds, using education to climb her way out.
After her two foster brothers were "jumped in" by the Bloods at ages twelve and thirteen, Margaret-renamed "Bree" in her new street life-followed their example. At twelve she was making deliveries for local dealers in the gang. For her thirteenth birthday she received her own gun. At sixteen, forced to find a way to keep the water from being shut off in her foster home, she learned to cook crack cocaine. Soon after, she fell in love for the first time, dating a seasoned gang member until he was sentenced to life in prison. We observe the lives of these characters from childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood. For some, this means following a trajectory of crime, pregnancy, imprisonment-and ultimately, death. But for Margaret, her obvious intelligence, will, and tenacity-aided by sheer luck-enable her to break free, to graduate from high school, and then college. The strength of this book is testament to the remarkable adult she has become.
This unvarnished, humanizing portrait of people living in urban poverty transcends both statistics and stereotypes, and reveals the power of family in a chaotic world-and the poignancy of smart, philosophical teens who dream of a safer life waiting for them beyond the streets.
So sympathetic and unsentimental, so raw and tender and tough-minded that its clear to the reader that whatever detachment she learned as a child did not impair her capacity for caring. Instead it heightened her powers of observation, enabling her to write with a novelists eye for the psychological detail and an anthropologists eye for social rituals and routines
[a] humane and deeply affecting memoir.
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
A powerful story of resilience and unconditional love.
(A) startlingly tender memoir.
O, The Oprah Magazine
"I spent every minute that I could steal with this book, and the morning after I had reached the last page, I felt lost, as if a trusted friend had suddenly moved away. Margaret B. Jones slices into the heart of South Central Los Angeles and spills her tangled life onto the page. Love and Consequences is raw and harsh and lovely. I've known poverty and hardship, and yet reading Margaret's story was like visiting a parallel universe, one emboldened with hope and shot with danger. My God, Margaret is brave."
-Barbara Robinette Moss, author of Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter
"An important book, full of pathos and wisdom. Margaret B. Jones, contesting every bit of the way, catching at everything that might save her and those she loves, writes with pitiless intelligence and scathing honesty."
-Susanna Moore, author of The Big Girls and In the Cut
"A must-read for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of contemporary American culture. Love and Consequences is a moving love letter to those who didn't survive gang life, and a well-crafted inspiration for those who still have a chance to escape. Margaret Jones uses her own life to tear down the walls between South Central and the world beyond."
-Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love
This memoir is the stunning account of a mixed-race girl growing up in gang-ridden South Central Los Angeles, where she followed her foster brothers into the Bloods before she hit puberty. Jones chronicles what she witnessed, how she survived, and--against all odds--thrived.
About the Author
Margaret B. Jones, born in Pomona, California, was brought up in the foster-care system in Los Angeles. She attended the University of Oregon in Eugene, where she earned a degree in ethnic studies.