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Random Family
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx | Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
21 posts | 25 read | 46 to read
Random Family tells the American outlaw saga lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. With an immediacy made possible only after ten years of reporting, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses the reader in the mind-boggling intricacies of the little-known ghetto world. She charts the tumultuous cycle of the generations, as girls become mothers, mothers become grandmothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation.Two romances thread through Random Family: the sexually charismatic nineteen-year-old Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and fourteen-year-old Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar, an aspiring thug. Fleeing from family problems, the young couples try to outrun their destinies. Chauffeurs whisk them to getaways in the Poconos and to nightclubs. They cruise the streets in Lamborghinis and customized James Bond cars. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between life and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George's business activities; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty. Together, then apart, the teenagers make family where they find it. Girls look for excitement and find trouble; boys, searching for adventure, join crews and prison gangs. Coco moves upstate to dodge the hazards of the Bronx; Jessica seeks solace in romance. Both find that love is the only place to go.A gifted prose stylist and a profoundly compassionate observer, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has slipped behind the cold statistics and sensationalism surrounding inner-city life and come back with a riveting, haunting, and true urban soap opera that reveals the clenched grip of the streets. Random Family is a compulsive read and an important journalistic achievement, sure to take its place beside the classics of the genre.
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review
HannaPolkadots
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Pickpick

This study was superinteresting and captivating and heartbreaking. I just want to know more, what happened to these families and kids I met through Adrian Nicole Leblanc. Definitely a recommend.

Reviewsbylola I loved this book but I want an update as well! I googled once I finished but there wasn‘t much. 4y
emilyhaldi I did a lot of google stalking after reading this too, to no avail 😏 4y
HannaPolkadots @Reviewsbylola and @emilyhaldi - me too with the attempt of Google stalking 😉 4y
28 likes3 comments
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TrishB
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#humpdaypost
Hubby‘s shelves drive me nuts - NO ORDER
None - never do unless compelled by my kids!!
Don‘t drive
Whatever fruit is in season 😁
The whole collection of penguin modern (boxed) 💕

MinDea I love fruit!!!! 4y
DGRachel No order on the shelves would give me hives. 😂 4y
TrishB @DGRachel exactly!! 4y
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Kalalalatja I have incorporated my boyfriend‘s books into my system. I couldn‘t deal otherwise 😂😂 4y
TrishB @Kalalalatja he says I‘m being controlling if I try that....so I mess his vinyl up when I play anything 😁 as they‘re always in order....petty I know!! 4y
Leftcoastzen He has some cool books though. I have organized clumps 😀Going through everything now to get them in better order. My vinyl,alpha and by type. 4y
Melissa_J I organized my husband‘s bookshelves for him. They look really nice now 🤣 4y
TrishB @Leftcoastzen his vinyl is in a wonderful order! 4y
TrishB @Melissa_J I‘m very tempted!! 4y
Kalalalatja Petty is permissable in this case 👏 4y
TrishB @Kalalalatja lol 😁 maybe he wouldn‘t notice! 4y
104 likes11 comments
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emilyhaldi
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Cardi B's journey from rags to riches has me thinking about this true story detailing the lives of a few people growing up in the Bronx in the early 90's. Jessica and Coco think they've made it big when they meet Boy George and Caesar and suddenly find themselves in the midst of the glamorous gangster world. 💵💵💵
#bodakyellow
#aprella

Cinfhen The BOY GEORGE??? 🎵Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon🎵 4y
Cinfhen Book sounds nuttier than Cardi B 4y
Cinfhen And I‘ve already stacked it!!!! 4y
See All 12 Comments
emilyhaldi Not THE Boy George, unfortunately 🙃 but this book is CRAY either way. It's mind blowing and very sad... Definitely give it a try! 4y
Reviewsbylola Loved this! @Cinfhen I first saw it mentioned in Nick Hornby‘s book (edited) 4y
Blaire This book is great! Read it last year. Can‘t remember how I came across it. They are really always living on the edge and hustling to make it. 4y
Zelma This is such a compelling book. And I read it based on Hornby‘s recommendation as well, @Reviewsbylola . He hasn‘t steered me wrong yet, though I notice that I often take different things away from books than he does. 4y
Reviewsbylola I really wish he still did his column. It was seriously my favorite thing ever. 😭 @zelma 4y
Mdargusch I need to read Hornby! 4y
Zelma @Reviewsbylola me too! 😥 I keep rereading Ten Years in the Tub and hoping for another collection sometime in the future. Alas. 4y
Centique I loved Ten Years in the Tub too and want some more🤞 @Zelma @Reviewsbylola 4y
Reviewsbylola I check every so often because I will never stop hoping. 😂😭 @Centique @Zelma 4y
94 likes2 stack adds12 comments
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emilyhaldi
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Pickpick

An impressive journalistic look at the members of 2 families growing up in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx in the 80's and 90's. Their story is devastating and all-encompassing. While I respect the journalist's prerogative to keep the story subjective, by the end it felt like a rote recitation of trivial events and I felt my focus slipping. The book is so dense there is hardly room for pause or contemplation.

Mdargusch I never knew how to put that in words, but Books can be exhausting when there‘s no room to pause. 4y
Reviewsbylola I just really need to know what happened to everyone once the book ended!! 4y
Zelma Nice review, I liked that the author didn‘t paint any broad generalizations or analyze anything. She just told a story and left it‘s me to decide how I felt about it. 4y
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Leftcoastzen Sounds intense. Stacked. 4y
Maria514626 David Sedaris recommended this at a reading. I‘ve been trying to remember the title! 4y
Cathythoughts Stunning picture ❤️❤️❤️ 4y
Cinfhen Lovely photo & review 💗 4y
111 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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My_novel_obsession
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Pickpick

One of the best narrative nonfiction books I have ever read. I became so attached to these people. It was heartbreaking, frustrating, stressful, infuriating, and sometimes hopeful to read about these families. The cycle of violence and poverty is vicious. I am left wondering where they are now and if anything has changed for the better.

emilyhaldi Nice review! Looking forward to this one so much 😄 4y
46 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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My_novel_obsession
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I feel like I have at least one foot back in the land of the living. Everybody in my house was sick this week but we are all recovering. I was only able to finish one book over the last week but I am back with this gem. Gonna try to work a couple of hours today and also make some progress with this.

Lacythebookworm Love this book 💕 4y
AmyG Feel better! 4y
emilyhaldi I bought this recently and can't wait to get to it!! 4y
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kspenmoll So sorry you have all been sick! 4y
My_novel_obsession @Lacythebookworm @emilyhaldi This book is so so good! I don‘t want to do anything except read it! 4y
My_novel_obsession @AmyG @kspenmoll Thanks guys! The flu this year is no joke! 4y
51 likes6 comments
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My_novel_obsession
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Had to go back to work today :(. But I‘m having a hard time putting this book down - it is fantastic!

readordierachel Oh, I'm glad to hear that! I got a copy of this one for Xmas. 4y
LauraBeth I‘m so glad this book is getting on people‘s radar again! It‘s really well done. 4y
emilyhaldi Ooohh this is coming in my most recent #bookoutlet haul!! 👏🏻👏🏻 4y
Zelma I finally read it last year and was really sad to see it end. 4y
46 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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My_novel_obsession
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My first reads of 2018 - these three non-fiction and a novel on my Kindle. So it‘s 37 degrees in Houston and that may not seem cold compared to other parts of the country but for here that is COLD!! I‘m staying right here today. Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 bring you peace, happiness and an abundance of great books 📚

Bookzombie I‘m in San Antonio and it‘s cold! 😂 Happy New Year!!🎆 ⭐️🎉 (edited) 4y
ErikasMindfulShelf I have the same cover on my kindle 😍 4y
kspenmoll Happy Belated New Year! Still cold? 4y
45 likes3 comments
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MallenNC
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So @haanim asked for some of my narrative nonfiction favorites and I got carried away! Here, in no certain order, are some favorites from my shelves. I'd love to see other people's suggestions of ones I've not mentioned. #Nonfiction

emilyhaldi Great list! If you haven‘t read this book yet, you must! 4y
MallenNC @emilyhaldi I have not read that one yet, but I have heard good things. 4y
JenReadsAlot Great list! I'm adding a few! 4y
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haanim Oh wow thanks so much for going to the trouble! ☺️ what an awesome list 😍 *opens up TBR list* 😋 4y
haanim One of my favourites in this genre is (edited) 4y
MallenNC @haanim It was fun! I looked back through my Goodreads so it was nice to pull the list together. Hope you enjoy some of these! 4y
MallenNC @haanim Yes! I read In Cold Blood before I was keeping track of my reading so I didn't think to mention it. 4y
MallenNC @JenReadsAlot I hope you find some to enjoy! 4y
Lacythebookworm Random Family is one of my all time favorites! Glad to see it on your list 😊 4y
MallenNC @Lacythebookworm I love that book! It's so well-written but more than that I was amazed that she spent 10 years researching and writing it. 4y
DrexEdit Tyson has a new book out on the murder of Emmet Till also 4y
DrexEdit I thought Hellhound on his Trail was an excellent book! 4y
MallenNC @DrexEdit Hellhound on his Trail is so great. I learned a lot while reading it, but the writing style was suspenseful even though I already knew what happened. Believe it or not, I have never read Seabiscuit! I need to do that. I did read Unbroken and it was so great. (edited) 4y
21 likes1 stack add15 comments
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Zelma
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Pickpick

I haven't been active here lately but have been immersed in this book. While not perfect by any means, this was a fascinating, devastating, frustrating read. The author follows a group of people in the Bronx for about 15 years, illuminating even the smallest minutiae of their lives. It is raw, honest, and intimate. It doesn't examine the larger picture of poverty or make judgments but just presents these lives and asks the reader to reflect.

goodbyefrancie I read this a few years ago, and It's definitely something that stays with you. I can't say I really loved it, but I don't know that I will ever forget it. 4y
Zelma @MinDea as you can see, Skippy is quite comfy. He lives for Mr. Z's lap. #Shippy 4y
Zelma @goodbyefrancie I can see that. I can't say it was my favorite book ever or that I loved it a ton, but it was something I couldn't put down. And I was sad to leave the book when it over, yet relieved at the same time. 4y
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goodbyefrancie @Zelma That describes it perfectly. 4y
MinDea So cute! That is how Shadow is. He is a lap cat all the way! 4y
RealBooks4ever Just checked it out from the library! 💜 4y
Zelma @RealBooks4ever 👍 hope you like it. 4y
41 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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Zelma
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My reading companion today, Skippy. Well, football-watching and reading companion. Lots of coffee too! He doesn't care as long as I have a lap for him.

@MinDea #Shippy #catsoflitsy

Sace 😍 4y
MinDea Gosh he looks so like my #Shadow. It is crazy! 4y
Zelma @MinDea definitely twins! 4y
Libby1 😻 4y
58 likes4 comments
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Zelma
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Toby is unimpressed by my decision to read instead of feeding him. Loving The Vegetable Butcher and may need my own copy. I am also devouring Random Family, which was a long-ago recommendation in Nick Hornby's column. So much has been covered in just a few chapters, I feel like it is going to be bananas by the middle.

BookBabe I have this book! And Toby is so cute when he sulks! 😸 4y
Zelma @BookBabe he is totally our stereotypically cute tabby cat 😻 adorable but total trouble. Both of theses books are fabulous. I may buy The Vegetable Butcher for my own collection. 4y
63 likes2 comments
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Blaire
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Pickpick

A journalist spends over a decade with Puerto Rican families in the Bronx. Shows how easy it is to slip in and out of poverty and how the system sets people up for failure. Many of the people live life on the edge, in and out of prison and the drug trade, but care deeply about their families and want to better their lives. She shows the complexity of the cycle of poverty and violence. #nonfiction #diversebooks #eveningread

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Blaire
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My #currentread is all about the #complicated relationships of a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx and their involvement with #addiction to drugs and connections to the drug trade. There are also various drug lords that could be considered to be #thosepeskycliques. This is a nonfiction read that gets inside a world that is rarely covered with nuance and depth. Reads like a novel. #anditsaugust #backtoreading #augustgrrrl

Cinfhen Ohhhh, gritty NF that reads like a novel #stacked ‼️ 4y
33 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Smahanian
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Bedtime reading

1 like1 stack add
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BooksTeasAndBookishThings
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GuiltyFeat US residents only. That sucks. 6y
BooksTeasAndBookishThings @GuiltyFeat yeah, sorry =( $1,000 worth of books on top of the furniture... I imagine shipping in the US will be expensive for them. 6y
Elisa Kind of wishing I still lived in the US right now 😕 I hope whoever wins shares their book nook with us so we can live vicariously! 😊 6y
28 likes5 comments