A Fighting Chance

Miguel Angel, 17, has managed to stay out of gang life because of a generous man, known as Coach, who has established a boxing club in an abandoned packing shed. Miguel Angel reads about Muhammad Ali, and dreams of the boxing ring as a way to bring his family out of poverty. As the story begins, he and girlfriend Britney have just discovered that she is pregnant. The narrative alternates between Britney and Miguel Angel, drawing a sharp contrast between the lives of her ultra-rich celebrity lawyer father and their family, and Miguel Angel’s impoverished life in a one-bedroom apartment with his mother and five stepsiblings.

Victoria

After losing her parents, fourteen-year-old Victoria and her young twin brothers move in with their aunt. But shortly afterward, her aunt’s boyfriend attempts to assault her, and she runs away and learns to survive on the dangerous streets of Paraná, Argentina. Encountering a world of street kids, gangs and drug dealers, Victoria overcomes deprivation and great hardship. With the help of newly-found friends and her single-minded determination to survive, she carves out a new life for herself and her little brothers.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 7, Issue 1

Gangs

Street gangs have exploded in popularity worldwide. Tattoos, baggy pants, tagging, gangsta style clothes — this unspoken threat is always just around the corner in most of the world’s major cities. In search of a sense of identity and belonging that their world has denied them, young people are pushed into gangs by a witch’s brew of violence, guns, drugs, racism, poverty, families under pressure, and ever-widening slums. Gangs exposes the roots of the problem, from the bidonvilles of France to the favelas of Brazil. It offers a startling analysis of the complicity of the adult world, as well as hard-hitting reforms that might just undermine the appeal of gang life. Most of all, it shows that we fail to understand gangs at our peril.

In Darkness

In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, fifteen-year-old Shorty, a poor gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a ruined hospital, and as he grows weaker he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in the 1804.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 3