Living at the Edge of the World: A Teenager's Survival in the Tunnels of Grand Central Station

Overview

When Tina S. meets April, a teenage runaway, she thinks she's found her best friend. She leaves behind her dysfunctional family to join April in the tunnels of Grand Central Station amidst the homeless and drug addicted. Soon she's bingeing on crack—just like April—and stealing, scamming and panhandling to support her habit and to survive on the streets.

In her own words, she describes her descent into crack addiction, being raped in the tunnels, her several arrests and jail ...

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2000-10-06 Hardcover New New-unused and unread. First Edition. First Print-Full Number Line.

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Overview

When Tina S. meets April, a teenage runaway, she thinks she's found her best friend. She leaves behind her dysfunctional family to join April in the tunnels of Grand Central Station amidst the homeless and drug addicted. Soon she's bingeing on crack—just like April—and stealing, scamming and panhandling to support her habit and to survive on the streets.

In her own words, she describes her descent into crack addiction, being raped in the tunnels, her several arrests and jail terms and her grief and guilt over the death of April, whom she'd come to love. Finally faced with the reality that she might not make it through one more day, Tina takes her first difficult steps towards a normal life.

With the help of a homeless advocate and his wife, a gay uncle dying of AIDS, and the woman who was to become her co-author on this book, Tina turns her life around and makes her way back to the world of the living.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From the first words of this intriguing true story, the reader is hooked. The book is written by Tina, a homeless, drug-addicted runaway, with help from Jamie, one of the people who helped Tina get off the streets. Tina is a cherub-faced young girl who leaves her dysfunctional family and joins her friend April. The two live in the tunnels of Grand Central Station, along with other homeless kids. Escaping her welfare-ridden family and entering the "cool" world of drugs and independence, Tina thinks that things are not that bad. But before she knows it, she is smoking crack, stealing and barely surviving. After April's suicide at the age of 19, Tina realizes that she has to get out.

The details of Tina's life with the adored April may alarm some readers, but that just may be the point. Unearthing the lifestyle of this group of Tunnel dwellers should surprise and captivate. The book is written in alternating chapters, one chapter describing the Tunnel life and the next one describing her long road to recovery. The writing is not hokey or preachy. Rather, it is raw emotion and straightforward talk. It is a surprising and thorough journey into the mind of a girl who took a turn for the worst, struggled, and finally came out of the dark.

From the Publisher
"A shocking and sometimes mordantly funny narrative of struggle and survival . . . Tina's directness and honesty with hold readers tight."-Publishers Weekly

"Right off the bat this had everything I enjoy in a book; immediacy; honest; poignancy and, most importantly, an author not afraid to reveal herself. Tina S.'s words unveil a human story more than a homeless story. One which-unless is ice water in your veins-will crawl inside you and rouse those things inside which we have all made an industry of lulling into sleep."-Lee Stringer, author of Grand Central Winter

'Tina's chilling tale of survival tells not only of the young lives lost to the underground, but also of a teenager's struggle to reemerge in our world. Her courage and strength are an inspiration."-Jennifer Toth, author The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City

"A journey between darkness and light, life in the tunnels and repeated rehabs, Living at the Edge of the World is a powerful look at a teenager's struggles with homelessness and drug addiction. Tina S. survives because others, among them Jamie Pastor Bolnick, refuse to let her self-destruct."-Margaret Morton, author of The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City

"The book is written with chilling detail, and the story is told with candor and, at times, humor. It holds you spellbound."-New York Post

"Richly detailed, fast-paced, and moving coming-of-age tale."-Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a shocking and sometimes mordantly funny narrative of struggle and survival, a young woman writes (with the help of journalist Bolnick) of her six years as a homeless, crack-addicted teen living in New York's underworld. Between the ages of 16 and 20, Tina S. lived in the endless labyrinth of tunnels beneath Grand Central Station, where she panhandled, robbed and sometimes prostituted herself for money for food, liquor and drugs. Having fled her constricting life with her mother and siblings on welfare, Tina met Alice, a dynamic woman her own age who introduced her to the "glamorous" world of drugs and hanging out. Soon Tina was trapped in a maelstrom of addictions, arrests, failed rehabilitations, sexual harassments and violence. Alice's suicide, at the age of 19, haunts both Tina and the book. While the story's breathless narrative crammed with incident occasionally takes on a movie-of-the-week feel (Bolnick's earlier Winnie: My Life in an Institution was made into an NBC-TV movie), it also manages to be moving and psychologically astute. Tina's voice is fresh, and the book has a matter-of-fact tone that studiously avoids moralizing. Whether she is explaining the difference between heroin and crack--"all you have to do with dope is spend $10 and you're straight for the day. With crack you're always on a mission"--or talking about how her gay uncle urges her to deal with her lesbianism, Tina's directness and honesty will hold readers tight. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
New York City's Grand Central Station provides the eerie backdrop for Tina S.'s jagged transition from runaway to homeless young adult to supervisor at a support organization for the homeless. Focusing on Tina's friendship with April, a doomed teenage runaway, the narrative conveys the realities of drugs, violence, and wasted lives but also a remarkable camaraderie among misfits. Bolnick, a freelance writer and author of Winnie: My Life in the Institution, alternates between stories of Tina's street life, her time at a rehabilitation center, and the rocky road back. Mentors such as an uncle who died of AIDS and a homeless advocate are critical to this process. This richly detailed, fast-paced, and moving coming-of-age tale originated as a follow-up to network stories on homelessness. Recommended for public libraries and social welfare collections, where it will challenge readers to look beyond the facade of the next homeless person they encounter.--Antoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
The gritty memoir of a runaway who crawls out of the grave of our deepest urban nightmare.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312200473
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Tina S. currently works as a supervisor at Ready, Willing and Able, an organization that teaches job skills to the homeless. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jamie Pastor Bolnick is the author of Winnie: My Life in the Institution (St. Martin's Press) which was made into the NBC-TV movie. Her work has also appeared in magazines and newspapers including Redbook and New York Newsday. She lives in New York City with her family and a mostly shepherd dog named Beki.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2004

    Thank Tina S.

    This books expresses the struggle to survive in Grand Central Station with an addiction to crack cocaine. Rarely do we see such true life accounts and rarely are we able to learn from them but this book brings new light to addiction and the basic struggle to survive the life on the streets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2001

    Keeping me on the edge of my chair

    I thought this book was well written, for three days I continuoudly read this book. There were times you felt as if you were personally with Tina. For anyone that works with children in any fashion I believe this book is a good learning tool, and definitely should be used. I have the oppurtunity to work with youths that are not well of and even problem youths, I am going to use this book as recommended reading for them and I just hope that they can turn out the way that Tina did in the book. Learn from their mistakes and go on with life in a positive and fruitful way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Living at the Edge of the World: A Teenager's Survival in the Tunnels of Grand Central Station

    This is not only a can't-put-down book, it's both heartbreaking and uplifting. It's the story of two young runaways, Tina and her best friend April, and what happens to them both. After four years living in the train tunnels underneath Grand Central, April ends up tragically but Tina finds the strength somehow to survive and rebuild her life, though she never gets over the grief of losing April. I read this book in two days and at times didn't know whether to cry or cheer (and almost did both). I'll never forget this book. It's made me more aware of the perils and pain that runaways endure and also offers a rare, in-depth look at the hardcore homeless. I don't think I'll ever look at another homeless person again without also seeing his or her humanity. Read this book. It's a trip worth taking and an experience not to be missed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2000

    this book was very disappointing

    The problem I had with the book was the main character Tina's portrayal of her life at Grand Centeral.From her travels through the tunnels to the drinking of blackberry brandy and crack smoking.The book was very boring at times and I found myself counting how many pages were left to go.All in all for me this book was a disappionting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2000

    Living at the Edge of the World: A Teenager's Survival in the Tunnels of Grand Central Station

    This book tells of a young girl's life in the tunnels of Grand Central Station, and it gives a vivid picture of what that weird world is like. It tells how Tina got pulled into drugs and crime after running away with her best friend, April, and how, after April killed herself, Tina found the strength to save herself and build a new life. It's sad, scary and sometimes even funny, and it's always hard to put down. It also gives an inside look at the world of runaways and the homeless, and makes you realize how human and fragile they are. You're really rooting for Tina to make it. This was one of the five best books I've read so far this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2000

    Required reading for high school freshmen.

    I was absolutely stunned by this book. Ms. Pastor Bolnick has taken four unbelievable years in Tina's life and brought them to life for us. One would think that after all the drugs Tina took, she would be forgiven for not remembering every moment of her life. Ms. Pastor Bolnick's research, and evident fondness for Tina, teaches us all lessons about negative relationships, abhorrent parenting, and the waste of life of those who run away. I think this book should be required reading for all high school freshman. They must realize that confrontation may be better than running away from the problem. This book also illuminates, for parents, how their actions or inactions, are seen by their children.

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