It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing

Luis J. Rodriguez, Essay by
Luis J. Rodriguez. Touchstone, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8416-2
Reviewed on: 09/05/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
MP3 CD - 978-1-61120-413-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-61120-410-0
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-415-5
Paperback - 325 pages - 978-1-4165-8417-9
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L.A. author and poet Rodriguez has written extensively on his redemptive turn from gang warfare and jail to self-awareness and community activism (Always Running). Here he deliberates pointedly on that journey accompanied by the safety of reflective hindsight. He fills in the details of his erratic trajectory, played out on the edge of a recklessness and anger fueled by growing up in an impoverished barrio in the San Gabriel Valley of L.A. County, where many Hispanic youth get sucked into a self-perpetuating pursuit of drugs, gang life, repeated arrest, early pregnancy, blunted education, and dead-end jobs. His early life was no exception from this depressing pattern of failure: born to hardworking Mexican immigrants, a member of Las Lomas gang, pumped up on drugs, he served some months in jail in 1973 for assaulting police officers. He yearned for “another way to go,” and managed to get clean in jail and walk away from that life, marry a like-minded young woman (she was only 18), secure a brief career at Bethlehem Steel, and get involved in issues of social justice. Even in his apprenticeship as a “minority” journalist, however, the soreness from old wounds continued to disturb him, especially in the raising of his children from different wives. Rodriguez tells an honest, direct story, though stripped of rawness by years of reworking. (Oct.)
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