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Always Running [Paperback]

Luis J. Rodriguez
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Feb. 9 1994 --  
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Book Description

Feb. 9 1994
A former L.A. gang member describes his experiences in that world, recounting the sense of security and power found in a gang and the grim reality of violence and poverty. Reprint. 60,000 first printing. Tour. NYT.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

As the preface of this admirable but ultimately disappointing memoir states, Rodriguez, an award-winning poet and publisher of the small press Tia Chucha, decided to document his youth as an East Los Angeles gang member in an effort to steer his teenaged son, Ramiro, away from the gang that he recently joined. A member of various Latino gangs based in and around the South San Gabriel Valley during the late 1960s, Rogriguez participated in random acts of violence, and was imprisoned on several occasions for the crimes he committed. Unfortunately, he offers frustratingly little detail behind the facts of his life and activity in the gangs. Rodriquez presents colorful characters and highly charged events, such as shootings, Mexican funerals, rapes and arrests, but his writing style renders much of that rich material forgettable.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Suzanne Ruta

"Entertainment Weekly"

Every spiky anecdote from a life of guns, razors, uppers, downers, glue, heroin, sex, and early death supports this former gang member's view of the violence as collective suicide. That Rodriguez's memoir takes place...before the '92 L.A. riots only makes this beautifully written and politically astute account more compelling.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's About Transcending Nov. 14 2002
By A Customer
When someone makes charges of "blaming" his environment on Luis Rodriguez, I can only wonder what book they were reading and what kind of background this person has in order to level such a charge.
First, there can be no doubt that conditions that exist in such areas as East LA and surrounding areas for those of Mexican heritage aren't even comparable to those in, say, Beverly Hills. So, "taking responsibility "for one's own actions only goes so far. Things aren't ëqual "much less "fair" in America, and this is evident. Just look at how we have a privileged person in the White House.
Second, and related, Rodriguez does nothing of the sort in terms of äbsolving himself because of the conditions in his youth. It's interesting that instead of seeing Rodriguez's story as one of transcendence, this reader instead focuses on a negative, conservative viewpoint, rather than the positive, very human story of transending. It all depends upon what one's reference points are.
Stories such as Rodriguez's and Piri Thomas's, Malcolm's, Claude Brown's... are inspirational. They point the way for others in similar situations and show that with the help and attention of others in the community, young people in bad situations can go far, much further than those with narrow minds who sit back and see negativity in transcendent examples.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Race as an Excuse for Failure? Nov. 4 2002
No doubt Rodriguez had a tough life, but in blaming all his problems on police officers and school teachers he has absolved himself of any personal responsibility for his own life. He has allowed his race to become not just what he is, but who he is, to the extent that he believes that being Mexican is the reason he did poorly in school, the reason his brother was violent, the reason that he ended up in jail repeatedly, etc. Maybe all this had more to do with the fact that his mother used physical means of disciplining her children, that his father had 8 children by 4 different women, or that he crossed the border multiple times, never settling long enough to establish good study habits or become involed in after school activities.
His family was also evicted from their homes many times beacuse they were poor and Latino. Could it have been because they failed to pay the rent? Or beacuse they squeezed 11 people into a 2 bedroom house? Or because on one occassion his sister attacked her husband with a nail file, splattering blood all over the walls and putting her husband in an ambulance? Of course not! They were evicted for being Mexican.
This "poor-victimized-Latino-me" perspective has also resulted in an incredibly anti-American, anti-White outlook. He brags of how he and his friends harassed white kids on their way to a football game, admittedly out of boredom or lack of anything else to do. He then claimed that racism is what made the police arrest him and his friends, while sending the white kids home. Interesting choice of activities. Maybe he and his friends would have benefitted more by joining their school's football team insteaded of assulting the kids who did play or who supported their school's team.
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By Liana
I've read an interview with Luiz Rodriquez after reading this fascinating book. I just wanted to point out - this book didn't help his son Ramiro - he ended up in jail for attempted murder. Luiz said people critisize him for that but he believes that if this book can help others, it's not written in vain. I think this is a great, honest, realistic book. You can tell the author put his entire soul into it. I like his transitions and analysis. I liked the part where he started talking about love, moved on to young girls getting pregnant and then, as a result of it, the ruined lives of unwanted, unloved kids. We never really think that all the evil in the world can be an outcome of love.
"The babies wail for feeding, for touch and the internal knowledge of being special, wanted. If it doesn't come as soon as they commence the bleeding, they ache for what they never had, with an emptiness which is never filled"
I think it was his major pain throughout the entire life - that "emptiness which is never filled".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Always Running April 18 2002
Book Review
Always Running
By: Luis Rodriguez
Reviewed by: Erick Villalvazo
Have you ever thought about being in a gang? Well, in the book "Always Running" it tells how life in a gang can be so dangerous. When Luis came to the United States he was an immigrant and he had trouble finding friends. He was so desperate and lonely that he made friends with teens in the Lomas gang. Later on he got jumped into the Lomas gang and after so many fights, shootings and trouble he wanted to get out of the gang but his friends wouldn't let him.

When Luis was thirteen he was already in a gang. In school Luis was involved in many fights. He was suspended from school many times and was expelled once. He was also involved in many shootings. Many of his friends died in drive-by shootings from rival gang members.
By being in the gang Luis was in trouble all the time. He was in jail many times. His mom was tired of visiting him in jail. His mom tried to help him by talking to him but he just wouldn't listen. Nobody could change his mind.

When Luis was seventeen he began to think about the future. That's when he realized that being in the gang wouldn't have no future for him. Then he decided to get out of the gang. He didn't hang out with his friends anymore and decided to change for good.

The life lesson of this book is not to join a gang. It only gives you trouble and you might get killed or end up in jail. If you are thinking about joining a gang I think you should read this book first so that you learn what can happen to you if you join one. Think about it twice before you join a gang.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BOOK!!!!!!! MUST BE READ!!!!!!!!
As he was growing up, Rodriguez had a vivid lifestyle in which he had witnessed countless shootings, racism, beatings, and several other negatively hard crimes. Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by Raul Rivera
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ BOOK!!!
It's about a lifestyle of a young child, growing up in the streets of Los Angeles, Luis J. Rodriguez writes about his vivid life, encountering racism, killings,cruicial beatings,... Read more
Published on March 22 2004 by Guillermo Murillo
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing More Than a Glorified Ex-Gangbanger
I read this book about ten years ago for the first time. My son was being "courted" by a gang in our area and a fellow parent recommended it. It did not help. Read more
Published on March 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I Have Read
Always running is the best book I have ever read. This book tells us what's happening around the world. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars It was off the hook
Always Running was a very powerful book, it's poetic writing and creative detail gave the book a life-like twist. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003 by Juan "Daddy" Contreras
3.0 out of 5 stars always running
I think this book is well written. It tells a lot of truth about what the life is about, but i feel that rodriuez is portrayed as courageous for escaping the street life when he... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Lady Scorpio
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop running.
This book is extraordinarily catching.I read it for an English class, and am glad I did. It opens the readers eyes to another world that only one who has lived it can tell of. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by Miguel Medina
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject matter but short on insight
Luis Rodriguez's autobiographical account of his childhood in East Los Angeles presents an opportunity for the reader to gain valuable knowledge and insight into a... Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2003 by "katamelotte"
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and compelling!
Luis Rodriguez' autobiography should be required reading in every high school in America. No exceptions. I finished it today, shed some tears, and said, "wow." Mr. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2003 by D. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG THE BEST BOOK EVER...
Published on Sept. 1 2003 by lauren
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