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La Vida Loca

Book Review

 

Title:

La Vida Loca

Author:

Luis J. Rodriguez

Publisher:

Simon & Schuster

ISBN:

0-684-81551-6

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

March, 2000

Rating:

La Vida Loca is about the life of a  "pandillero" (gang member) in Los Angeles during the 1950's and 1960's. The  book is told in first person by the author and is written entirely in Spanish.

ama-0684815516.jpg (1831 bytes)The  book covers the author's life from when he first arrived in the United States from Mexico with his mother to the late 1980's. What is fascinating about this  book is that it gives the reader a glimpse of what life is like on the other side of the tracks. Simple things that most people take for granted such as going to the beach or to the store for groceries become very frightening experiences  when nobody likes you and nobody speaks your language.

Most of the story is about the time the author spent in several Los Angeles gangs and about the women, drugs and crime involved. The book also gives several examples of demonstrations of Latino pride in the face of adversity. The author finally finds a way out of the craziness by attending college to become a writer and moving to Chicago.

This book is not an easy book for those that read Spanish as a second language. Many slang words are included in the story, but an appendix at the rear of the book translates these into standard Spanish. I would highly recommend this book to those that can read Spanish since it is a truly interesting story.

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