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4.1 out of 5 stars
Can't Get There from Here
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$21.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on March 31, 2004
" 'I'm so gross! I'm disgusting! I can't stand it!' Rainbow laughed crazily as she pulled me down the sidewalk about a block from Canal Street.
" 'You look beautiful to me,' I said.
" 'Oh, Maybe, what would you know? You're even smellier and dirtier than me.'
" 'I am?' Even though I knew that all of us street kids were dirty and smelly, it still made me feel bad to hear Rainbow say it. That wasn't the way I wanted her to think of me.
" 'Aw, look, I hurt your feelings.' Rainbow stuck out her lower lip and pouted. 'I'm sorry, Maybe. But I'm dirty and smelly, too. We're the dirty and smelly twins!' She hooked her arm through mine and started to skip. I tried to keep up with her. It made me happy when she wanted to be with me. Then she let go and did a cartwheel right in the middle of the sidewalk. The regular people looked at her like she was psycho."
Each of them has some real or imagined story about how they got there. But here they are: a small tribe of street urchins hostage to the natural and human elements of a winter on the streets in Manhattan. The story is told by Maybe, a girl with a highly visible skin condition, vitiligo, who has been here since last summer.
CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE provides a vivid portrait of being there all the time, on your own, on the street, in the filth of alleys and doorways, with the nightly fear of being preyed on and the daily tasks of survival.
"Cold wind ripping
down the alley at dawn
And the morning paper flies,
Dead man lying
by the side of the road
With the daylight in his eyes."
--Neil Young "Don't Let It Bring You Down"
As you could imagine this is an unforgiving environment where twenty-somethings are perceived as old and worn out and there are plenty of kids who don't make it:
Yet every time CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE threatens to totally veer toward the hopeless and morbid, we are reminded that these are kids. Real kids. Silly kids. Sensitive kids. Stubborn kids. Questioning kids:
" 'Are you serious?' the man asked, nodding at Maggot's 'Money for Maryjuana' sign.
" 'Why not?' Maggot answered. 'If the sign said, "Money for Food," would you believe it? Least I'm honest.'
" 'At least you ought to spell it right,' said the woman.
"Maggot turned the sign around and looked at it. 'I spelled "money" wrong?'
"The man smiled. 'He's got a sense of humor.'
" 'Not for long if I don't score some pot,' Maggot warned them."
A quick online search finds estimates from a few years ago of 12,000-20,000 homeless youth in New York City. Nearly two-thirds are black or Latino. A disproportionate share are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, because adolescents in those groups are routinely jettisoned by their families and are frequently unwelcome in their schools or in foster homes. Many homeless teens are children of the victims of the mid-1980s crack epidemic. A study found one-third of those street kids surveyed engaged in prostitution in order to obtain money. There is a high expectation among street kids that they will contract AIDS.
CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE is one of those books to grab me by the throat and slam me against the wall. Like Spaz from Rodman Philbrick's THE LAST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE, Maybe's "defect" is her savior. That highly visible skin condition ironically leaves her as a less visible target than 2Moro, Rainbow, Tears, Jewel and so many other kids in her position, thus allowing her to be the perfect observer and narrator for the story.
Homeless teens have no voice, no vote, few choices, and zero power. By melding remnants of childhood joy and innocence with the bitter bleakness of life and death in filthy alleys and dumpsters, Todd Strasser has written a story that will be the root of nightmares, prolonged discussions and, hopefully, change.
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on July 14, 2004
„Cant get there from here" by Todd Strasser tells the reader about a tribe of nine street kids, who live on the streets of New York and try to survive. They feel free and tell themselves that this life is the best the can choose.
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.
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on July 14, 2004
Todd Strasser's book "Can't Get There From Here" talks about the situation homeless kids in the big city New York. There are different reasons why these kids run away from home. Often they don't have the feeling that they have a real home. Sometimes they had to have survival sex, their parents didn't want them, their parents couldn't afford them or they felt alone in a rich family.
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.
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on July 14, 2004
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.
Stay brutal!!!
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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".
It shows all kind of problems street kids have - prostitution, drugs and illness -.
Todd Strasser attaches importance to reminding the society of those street-kids. He tries to tell us about the problems of kids on the street that nobody pays attention to, but he does that in a very exciting way.
"Can't get there from here" is a book which focuses on an important social issue.
It's very provocative because he wants the people to reflect on their life and the life of the street kids, that's why I hold this book in high esteam. It's a very heart-wrenching story of young lives lost to the streets.
It's one of the latest problems, so everybody should have read this book to form a judgement of our society.
So I think after mature reflection that this book is one of the best books in our time!
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on July 14, 2004
Hello, my name is Jenny and I'm a student from Germany. We read this book in our English lessons and wrote a class test about it. In this class test it was our task to write a review about this book. This is mine:
"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!"
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on July 14, 2004
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. "Maybe",the narrator, tells of her cruel impressions of the life they live. She tells us how hard it is to try to get away from the street and to start a new "normal" life. But sometimes you even can't get there from here...
When I first read this book I was really surprised because it is written very amazingly. It shows the life of the 8 children very impressively and you can nearly understand how hard it must be to live on the street. The end of the book is very sad. I hope you will read this book, too. I think it is a good book because it makes you think about the hard life that some people have and it shows you how lucky you are.
So I can summarize my opinion in a few words: Buy it, read it, think about it!
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on June 21, 2004
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.i like it buy it and you'll see
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on May 18, 2004
Maybe thinks she is out of choices. A young teen with a skin coloration problem living on the streets of New York, Maybe watches as, one by one, the friends she hangs with die from disease, abuse and illness. Raw and relentless, Todd Strasser brings readers right into this survival story.
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
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on May 26, 2004
This is a fictional story of a struggling tribe of homeless kids, and one of the main characters is a girl, named Maybe. She tells us what happens throughout her life on the streets of New York. She also tells us how members of the tribe die from being on the street too long. But she also tells about people that want just to help and get nothing in return but just to see the kids get a better life than the one they have on the streets. I really liked this book because of how Todd Strasser gave us an idea of what happens to kids on the streets and that's why I recommend this book for not just adults but teens also. It gives us an idea of what happens everyday when you are sitting in a warm house, with clean clothes on your back, and food in your stomach.
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