Can't Get There from Here Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up--A surrogate family of homeless teens lives on the streets of New York City, and the bleakness of their lives is clear early on when Country Club dies of "liver failure due to acute alcohol poisoning." His brief life is summarized in a one-page dossierlike format that immediately precedes the narrative description of his death. These clinical dossiers recur, like a premonition, as one by one this ragtag "family" disintegrates. But first, readers meet Maggot; Rainbow; beautiful, HIV-positive 2Moro; her club-hopping, sexually amorphous friend Jewel; the protagonist/narrator Maybe; and Tears, the newest, and, at 12 years of age, youngest member of the group. Gradually revealed are the physical and psychological scars that marked their paths to the police sweeps, illness, drugs, and destitution that litter their lives. Also made clear is the fact that these teens reject many offers of help, but find that the street looks better than the horrors from which they've fled. A kindly librarian, Anthony, becomes the hero, reuniting Tears with her grandparents and offering the possibility of a safe future to Maybe. While the events described in this cautionary tale are shocking, the language is not, making these all-too-real problems accessible to a wide readership. More sanitized than E. R. Frank's America (Atheneum, 2002), Han Nolan's Born Blue (Harcourt, 2001), or Adam Rapp's 33 Snowfish(Candlewick, 2003), this is nevertheless a powerful and disturbing look at the downward spiral of despair that remains too common for too many teens.--Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Gr. 7-12. She calls herself Maybe. Thrown out by her abusive mom, she struggles to survive on the streets of New York with homeless teens who become a family in the asphalt jungle. They try to care for one another, but it doesn't help much. They beg and forage for food. Maybe knows some of them work as prostitutes and deal drugs. One or two do find loving homes, but most will die--from AIDS, violence, exposure, suicide. Without sentimentality or exploitation, Maybe's disturbing first-person narrative lets readers know exactly what it's like to live without shelter, huddling in nests of rags, newspapers, and plastic bags. In one vivid chapter, Maybe and her friend enjoy hot-water luxury in the library bathroom, until a brutal security guard makes the nude girls clean the place before throwing them out. Some adults are kind, including a librarian, and with his help, Maybe might make it in a youth home. Maybe. A story about people that we pretend don't exist; Strasser makes us know them. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In this book a few of these forgotten kids find together in a kind of family called "The Asphalt Tribe". They have to fight with hunger, cold and dirt. Will they win this fight with illnessis and with the feeling that nobody cares about them? You can read all this in Todd Strasser's exciting story.
Strasser wrote a very interesting book. It's very realistic, you often see homeless people in big towns. I think it's a very big problem of our rich society that we let kids live on the street where they can't survive. Strasser tries to explain the reasons for leaving home and why the kids often don't want to get help. They had a too bad life when they were young, so that they want to live on their own. This book makes you think about this bad situation of so young people in our rich American and European societies.
There are Rainbow, who takes drugs, the innocent Tears, the anarchist Maggot, 2Moro and Jewel, who have survival-sex, OG with his dog Pest and Maybe, who tells the story. During their life on the street they sometimes even have fun, but the dark side of street life is going to destroy the young people. Only a few can survive. But there is also hope of the end of the story.
This book is not only a novel that tells a story. This book shows the real life of street kids. It shows how hard this life is and that those street kids really exist in the big towns of the world and that they are no imagination. The book wants you to think about those kids and not to ignore them. They often live on the streets because they were abused by adults and are desperate because they have no chance to live another life, if nobody tries to help them. So it is a really good choice.
Todd Strasser`s book "Can`t get there from here" is very interesting,I think.
It`s a very good book about some kids living on the street.You get to know their really bad situation and the dangers they have to face every day.Hunger and Cold are the main problems.The kids have no warm place to go to,they have no money.Each of them has a bad past.There parents wanted them to go,they were hit or sexually abuse.So know they live together in a tribe of homless kids.Sometimes new kids arrive.Every day they take new risks to survive.Some of them earn some money by having survival sex,one boy who`s called Maggot gets his money by selling drugs.Sometimes it`s the only way to survive.But you can`t get very old if you live a life like that with no plans for the future.That`s the brutal reality.When you read the book you get lots of information about homeless kids and there very bad situation.It can probably open the people`s eyes.That`s why I think the book is very interesting because you can`t always know what will happen next.
"The new book "Can't get there from here" by Todd Strasser is a very interesting novel. It is about a group of street kids living in New York. Every day the have to find a new way to stay alive and this is very hard. Most of them were pushed away from their families into a cold and hard winter in New York. It is a fight against low degrees and unfriendly people who look at them as if they were nothing. Nobody of them knows, if they can speak to their friends on the next day, because no one knows, if they stay alive in the cruel and dark nights. -My opinion is that it is a very interesting book and that the theme was a very good choice. It is very exciting, because you can feel the emotions the kids feel when they fight against the cold, the hunger and the night. You wish them good luck, but there is no happy end for all of them. You find out more about the real street life and after you have read the book you will be very happy that you have a home and only little problems. You will hold your life in high esteem!"
Other teens on the street with Maybe include Maggot, Rainbow, Jewel and then Tears, a 12-year-old runaway. Their life consists of "spanging" (begging for spare change), trying to earn money by cleaning windshields, and finding food and shelter. Getting clean is a luxury, and Rainbow and Maybe are sexually harassed when they try to clean up in a public library washroom.
A night in a youth shelter shows Maybe that a warm bed comes at the price of rules, but may just be worth it. Another night in a posh club where men try to own and sell her friends makes her think that there might be a better path for young Tears.
Hope comes in the form of a librarian with the same skin disorder as Maybe. She makes some calls for Tears and gives the girls food and much-needed encouragement. Then the rest of the gang begins to disperse to both good and bad places. Soon, Maybe begins to want life rather than the death she sees all around her.
An excellent book with no easy answers, CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE is unforgettable.
--- Reviewed by Amy Alessio
Most recent customer reviews
The book "Can't get there from here" is a very impressive story about the life on the street of a group of 8 children. Read morePublished on July 14 2004
The book "Can't get there from here" by Todd Strasser is about a group of kids living on the streets of New York who call themselves the "Asphalt Tribe". Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Sarah Götza
i loved this book, it's so dramatic. seeing how kids live on the streetsmakes me feel bad about how good i have it. it's sad how much abuse they get and their desiases. Read morePublished on June 21 2004
This is a fictional story of a struggling tribe of homeless kids, and one of the main characters is a girl, named Maybe. Read morePublished on May 26 2004 by adam
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