8 Ball Chicks: A Year in The Violent World of Girl Gangsters

Overview

Dismissed by the police as mere adjuncts to or gofers for male gangs, girl gang members are in fact often as emotionally closed off and dangerous as their male counterparts. Carrying razor blades in their mouths and guns in their jackets for defense, they initiate drive-by shootings, carry out car jackings, stomp outsiders who stumble onto or dare to enter the neighborhood, viciously retaliate against other gangs and ferociously guard their home turf.

But Sikes also captures the...

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8 Ball Chicks: A Year in The Violent World of Girl Gangsters

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Overview

Dismissed by the police as mere adjuncts to or gofers for male gangs, girl gang members are in fact often as emotionally closed off and dangerous as their male counterparts. Carrying razor blades in their mouths and guns in their jackets for defense, they initiate drive-by shootings, carry out car jackings, stomp outsiders who stumble onto or dare to enter the neighborhood, viciously retaliate against other gangs and ferociously guard their home turf.

But Sikes also captures the differences that distinguish girl gangs-abortion, teen pregnancy and teen motherhood, endless beatings and the humiliation of being forced to have sex with a lineup of male gangbangers during initiation, haphazardly raising kids in a household of drugs and guns with a part-time boyfriend off gangbanging himself. Veteran journalist Gini Sikes spends a year in the ghettos following the lives of several key gang members in South Central Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Milwaukee. In 8 Ball Chicks, we discover the fear and desperate desire for respect and status that drive girls into gangs in the first place--and the dreams and ambitions that occasionally help them to escape the catch-22 of their existence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What stays with the reader is the fear and despair that lie at the bottom of these girls' seeming hearts of stone...Sikes's generous reporting gives voice to young women...who think they  must pass through violence on the road to self respect."--Elle

"Describes an American landscape as strange and harrowing and important as any I know of.  Gini Sikes is a fearless witness."--Alec Wilkinson, author of A Violent Act

"Two scenes in 8 Ball Chicks are particularly poignant.  In one, Sikes meets an 18-year-old killer and gang leader, Gat Man, the boyfriend of one of her female contacts.  Gat Man wants to take the author on a drive-by and when she declines he believes her reluctance must be due to fear of arrest. 'When I tried to explain that I couldn't contribute to someone's death or injury...he gazed, blank-faced, unable to comprehend my point.'

In the other scene, Sikes is driving with gang wannabe Droopy, joking that Droopy better not get them into trouble because Sikes couldn't run or fight:

'She sat up in her seat, suddenly serious.  "Get out of here!"

"I wouldn't know what to do if someone hit me."

Confusion spread across her features.  "Well..." She hesitated.  "What do you do when someone comes up and hits you?"

"Nobody ever had," I told her.

"For real?"  She turned her expectant brown eyes upon me.  "For real?"'

And that's what I was saying to myself throughout this book, cocooned in my own violence-free, choice-filled life..is this 'FOR REAL?'  Unfortunately, it seems that it is."--from a review by BookpgXena, for THE BOOK REPORT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385474320
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 275
  • Sales rank: 398,392
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Gini Sikes, a former senior writer at Mademoiselle, was a producer for PBS's national weekly series on urban teenagers, "In the Mix." She has written about youth culture and crime for The Washington Post, Glamour, Vibe, Mirabella, and MTV.  She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2003

    A DOOR TO THE REAL WORLD

    This book shows the life for girls in the streets these days. It is good to finally see a book about something real. As a girl gangmember also it is important for people in this society to understand how life is for us. That we don't always choose this, but we have to live with it. I wish she would write another one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2003

    Cant Put IT DOWN

    I LOVE THIS BOOK. ITS SAD THOUGH.IT TELLS U THE TRUTH. EVEN THOUGH I'M ONLYON PG. 60 I NO THIS BOOK IS GONNA B GOOD BECUZ IT STARTED OUT GOOD. I HIGHLY RECOMMED THIS BOOK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Shocking, but excellent book!

    Finally! A book that provides information on women gangs. As a sociology major, I wanted to find a book that would really stimulate my mind and make me think. This book is definitely a must-read! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2002

    the 411 is not always right

    i think the author didn't reaaly know what she was talking about.i'm a girl and i gangbang in oxnard and i fell offended by this book because the author makes homegirls like myself look scanless.And it's not even like that.you don't get into the neighborhood by spending the night with all the homies you get jumped in either by girls or guys.i just think that the author should have spend a year with real gangsters not fake wannabees

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2001

    A real hard look at the life of girl gang bangers.

    This was a great book. Gini Sikes takes a real look at the life of gang girls. She does a great job of expressing the pain of the lives they live. I wish she would write more books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    THE MOST INTREASTING BOOK IVE EVER READ!!!!

    THIS BOOK WAS GREAT!!!!!!!I READ IT IN THREE DAYS BECAUSE I COULDNT PUT IT DOWN FOR ONE MINUTE! IT MAKES YOU REALLY VALUE LIFE BECAUSE A LOT OF GIRLS LIKE THESE DONT GET TO MANY CHANCES TO ENJOY LIFE! AND THERE IS A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW THE GANGSTERS WORLD AND THEY CRITISIZE THESE GIRL'S WHEN THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW THERE WORLD AND IT'S A SAD ONE!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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