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In East Los Angeles during World War II, "Little Man" is torn between his family and girlfriend and the gang he belongs to who spend their time hanging around, cruising the neighborhood, boozing, and protecting their turf
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A plodding, largely autobiographical first novel by Dur n, now a counselor for youth gangs, examines the barrio's unbreakable hold on ``Little Mike,'' a 16-year-old Chicano growing up in WW II-era East Los Angeles. The first-person narrative follows Mike for two years, through the trials of life in T-Flats as he and his pachuco friends, ``draped'' out in their zoot-suit clothes, ``lush out'' (drink) and flirt and fornicate with the high-school girls who disregard their mothers' warnings and walk by the pachucos' hangout, the corner near Marty's Malt Shop. The boys fight with adjoining barrios, such as Fourth Flats, Kern Mara, and L'il Eastside. Then Mike, busted for protecting his turf against vigilante servicemen, ends up in a Probation Forestry Camp, fighting fires and helping build firebreaks. There, he learns leadership skills, as well as the benefits of positive peer pressure. Having always experienced a conflict between the pull of machismo and the desire to be a nice guy (he was a straight-A student before quitting in the tenth grade), he ``graduates'' from the camp and tries to break away from the barrio and become a proper husband for his ``square'' wife. But the guys are waiting on the corner. And the mystical hold of the barrio and the lure of the pachucos' camaraderie exert a pull that he can't resist. Marred by the author's monotonous recounting of his protagonist's every move, regardless of its significance, and the absence of well-developed scenes, but nonetheless a good description of the machismo, adrenaline addiction, and territorial imperative of a pachuco's life in the barrio. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
This first novel by a counselor for youth gangs endeavors to portray the complex and gritty struggle of a Latino boy coming of age in a Los Angeles barrio in the late 1940s. Little Mike and his buddies go cruising and get into "beefs" with guys from other neighborhoods. Despite his ducktail, Mike lands the "square" Penny, a polite, well-dressed girl. But when Mike is wrongly accused of attempted murder, Duran's story turns into a fairy tale of unusually civilized juvenile delinquency camps where a boy can gain self-esteem and graduate to find a good job, re-enroll in school and marry his sweetheart. Yet inexplicably, in the end, Mike returns to the streets and is again arrested for attempted murder. Sadly, the author is unable to conjure up these circumstances with any degree of realism. The language is inauthentic and stilted ("Mike, I like you very much, in spite of your way of life," says Penny); the use of phrases like "cool dude" and "groovy" fails to convey the energy and rhythm of street language. Moreover, the scenes of gang life--a little drinking and occasional, sometimes justified, violence--are far too innocent and simplistic to be either believable or compelling.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Rebound By Sagebrush, 1999. Condition: Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP78875957