Down These Mean Streets

Down These Mean Streets

4.6 50
by Piri Thomas
     
 

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Thirty years ago Piri Thomas made literary history with this lacerating, lyrical memoir of his coming of age on the streets of Spanish Harlem. Here was the testament of a born outsider: a Puerto Rican in English-speaking America; a dark-skinned morenito in a family that refused to acknowledge its African blood. Here was an unsparing document of Thomas's plunge

Overview

Thirty years ago Piri Thomas made literary history with this lacerating, lyrical memoir of his coming of age on the streets of Spanish Harlem. Here was the testament of a born outsider: a Puerto Rican in English-speaking America; a dark-skinned morenito in a family that refused to acknowledge its African blood. Here was an unsparing document of Thomas's plunge into the deadly consolations of drugs, street fighting, and armed robbery—a descent that ended when the twenty-two-year-old Piri was sent to prison for shooting a cop.

As he recounts the journey that took him from adolescence in El Barrio to a lock-up in Sing Sing to the freedom that comes of self-acceptance, faith, and inner confidence, Piri Thomas gives us a book that is as exultant as it is harrowing and whose every page bears the irrepressible rhythm of its author's voice. Thirty years after its first appearance, this classic of manhood, marginalization, survival, and transcendence is available in an anniversary edition with a new Introduction by the author.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Piri Thomas describes the passionate, painful search to validate his manhood...He has done it all in Harlem's mean streets and gone on from machismo to manhood, acquiring during the journey an understanding of man."—The Nation
Daniel Stern
This is the autobiography of Piri Thomas, son of a light-skinned Puerto Rican mother and a dark-skinned Puerto Rican father. The book's literary qualities are primitive. Yet it has an undeniable power that I think comes from the fact that it is a report from the guts and heart of a submerged population group, itself submerged in the hearts and guts of our cities.-- Books of the Century, The New York Times review May, 1967

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679781424
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Edition description:
30th Anniversary Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
89,407
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.73(d)
Lexile:
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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Down These Mean Streets 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great, it was interesting, i didnt want to put it down, and im not the kind of person that likes to read, i think piri, he had a great time writing this book, remembering his childhood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very interesting. I feel that not only young men of all nationalities should read this but women as well. I could not put it down. It made me laugh, cry and take a good look in the mirror!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IS THIS BOOK FOR A 14 YEAR OLD TO READ???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Defunkitated_Reader More than 1 year ago
And halfway pass the beginning, I wondered "Just what the hell is this school trying to make me read?!" This books stresses Piri being a dark skinned puerto rican and how he gets confused for being black and his issue with that. How being compare to being black is like the worse thing possible. And being a dark skinned hispanic (domincan) myself, the whole time I was reading this I just thought, "Suck it up man. Who cares what they think?" At the being one might think, that this book is such a stereotype and stating that we are all the same facing these problems daily and that we trough in random Spanish words in the middle of our sentence. "You got no Corazon." kind of thing. But then I thought, this was during the 30's, the great depression, world war 2. That was when I realized, this is amazing! For us now, it's usual to see things like this, but during the 50's? I don't think so. So you have to keep that in mind. It's not the same how it is now so all in all, it's a very educated book and made me glad how my parents raised me. As I read it, my proud attitude of my heritage and skin color never wavered.
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XAKid More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 1994 and shared it with my son in 2008. He shared it with his cousins and the book has not been back on the shelf since. it is a great book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really good from beginning to end. His style coulndt have been any better, its a book talking about his life, not something he pulled out the figment of his imagination and he could have wrote that anyway he wanted to hbecause it is his life. This book kept me on my toes and i never wanted to put it down and he stayed very true to who he is and used Spanish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a hard book for me to interested in but about half way through the book it got better and better as I read. If you think that you have a hard life read this book Piri Thomas had a mixture of emotions and events that changed his life for the better. This book could be hulpful to someone who might be going the same thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about Piri Thomas growing up in Spanish Harlem. He had to grow up in a rough neighborhood,which cause him to make some bad decision. I know a lot of people that had to grow up in similar situations that made them make some of the wrong choices in life that they regret. Piri found hisself being hated by different types of races. Being hated by people caused him to be filled with haterd, which would make anybody mad. Piri had to fight to gain respect. Piri got involved in drugs and robberies. Started hanging around some of the wrong people. In one the robberies Piri ended up shooting a cop. What landed him in jail for some years. After doing jail time Piri changed his ways. I would recommend all teenagers to read this book because some times they go through some of the same situations. This book would help a person think twice before doing something wrong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book 30 years ago when I was 16 years old and growing up on NY's lower east side. The drugs, the fight to survive the streets and the hope of coming away a better person are all things that were a major part of NYC life back in the 70's. I remembering reading this book in one day, not wanting to put it down for a minute. When my own son was 16 I gave him a copy of the book. He's read it 3 or more times since and we both claim it as our all time favorite book! This is a book that will take you into the dark city streets and make you feel like you're a part of the story. The writting is awesome and the characters come to life. A MUST READ