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There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing up in the Other America

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    There Are No Children Here

    To truly understand how a book can open your eyes and give you a new perspective, I feel you have to read the book, There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz. The book followed the story of two young boys living in a Chicago housing project. The characters, Lafeyette and Pharoah, are faced with struggles no children should have to deal with. From the lure of gangs to family drug problems, the children are constantly fighting the pressures of the neighborhood. They watch their brothers and sisters being sent to jail, and their young friends being shot and killed in the very streets they live on. The youngest boy Pharoah was especially likeable due to his ability to keep his innocence. In contrast, Lafeyette was stern and took on much responsibility for his family by trying to protect them. The author, Alex Kotlowitz, did a wonderful job in making the characters personalities known to the reader. He did this by having quotes and responses from the boys that reflect their personality.
    What made the book really effective was the amount of facts and research that Kotlowitz put into the book. He gave crucial information that provided the reader with strong background knowledge on the neighborhood. As the story progressed with new topics, for example the change in topic from gang violence to the schooling system, Kotlowitz transitions by describing the topics in detail. He connects the boy's story with the current situation of their school, the court system, and correctional facilities. By supplying the reader with facts, the book becomes more interesting because it informs us on what is going on in our city. While reading, I was appalled by the amount of violence in the neighborhood. Reading about it, it sounds almost as if it is in another country. It is mind-boggling to think that this violence is only miles away from my own quite neighborhood.
    Overall this book was very interesting to read because the story line is exciting, and it is informative. I normally am not interested in fiction books but Alex Kotlowitz surprised me with this life changing book. There Are No Children Here opened my eyes to a new world and taught me never to take my own life for granted.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    Improve Life

    The book is great. It talk about two black boy' life in the city has a lot of criminal and gang.Two black boy are Lafeyette and Pharoah.Although they live in bad environment, they aren't affected. They have to try to protect their life and their family in the dangerous city. Two boy meet a lot of trouble and difficult where they live. However, they still have good friends,and their friend help them have many experience to live in the dangerous city.Lafeyettle do anything to him and his brother escape the bad life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Recommended- very interesting and true!

    There Are No Children Here is the true story of two boys, Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, growing up and struggling to overcome the hardships presented in the projects. The story takes place in the surrounding neighborhoods in the inner city of Chicago in the summer of 1987, in an abandon housing project called the Henry Horner Homes. The author, Alex Kotlowitz, receives permission from the boys’ mother to watch them for two years, with the purpose to expose the problematic lifestyles in “the other America” that others pay no heed to. These boys go through life learning how to dodge bullets and gangbangers, rather than how to play ball like the children living in the suburbs.

    Like most families in the projects, the Rivers family was lead by one guardian, their mother LaJoe. With three older siblings already in and out of jail, Lafeyette, who is only 11, takes on the responsibility of protecting his younger siblings, including Pharoah. Unlike most children, these boys had no intentions to become involved in drugs, gangs, and robberies. But the biggest struggles they faced was their own inner demons that could cause them to give up on their dreams and fall into the corruption of the projects.

    As the boys cope with the pressure from the other children around them, they focus hard on staying above it all, especially Pharoah. His innocence, love for school, and hate of devastation separate him from the children. Unlike Lafeyette, who looses hope after the loss of his close friends and at some points it seems as if he won’t make it.

    Alex Kotlowitz provides great detail about the young boys, their horrid conditions, and the struggles they strive to overcome. The amount of violence and lost opportunity is unimaginable, but seems normal to these children. Nevertheless, the love and support these boys have for each other is amazing, and the reason they have such dedication.

    Overall, I would recommend this book as it opened my eyes to the unknown struggle many children face while telling an interesting, true story. It showed me to appreciate my life and family and not take life for granted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    Very interesting book

    I choose to read There Are No Children Here because it was a very interesting book dealing with the poverty life of a family trying to survive the daily hardships in a rough area of Chicago. When reading this book I thought it was very interesting on how the two brother¿s pharaoh and Lafayette had two options when growing up. You could either go to school, and not give in to the local gang or you could be persuaded by the younger recruits to work for the drug lords. When reading this book you get captured to the ways the two brothers live and how they stick together throughout the story. As the older brother Lafayette looks out for his younger brother telling him right from wrong I felt disappointed when he starts to get into trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd. When reading about the mother in this story whose name is Lajoe it shows how hard she really has it, caring for all of the people in her family and wanting her children to grow up to complete there education and leave there horrible neighborhood. There is a lot of violence in this book dealing with the gangbanging and daily shootings that occur making everyone scared to go outside and even go for a walk .If you like to read books that excite you, and want you to read more this book would be for you. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes adventure and excitement dealing with all of the problems that go on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2003

    Commentary for Social Ills

    This book portrays an inhumane way of living and the strong bond and open relationship of 2 young boys and their mother. Although its story is told in a newspaper column-like way(of course, it IS written by a reporter), the reader can imagine ever the more clearly the subdued attitude the children have of the future and their hope of a better one. Somewhat monotonous, one can still get a good overview of their lives and their problems.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2003

    It really made me stop and think

    As an education student, this book really made me stop and think. It's hard to believe that there are children right here in this country who live in another world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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