Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival

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In an unforgettable voice that weaves stunning, forthright narration together with the distinctive, rhythmic slang of the street, Margaret B. Jones brings us movingly into the world of her youth - a world of gangs and poverty, but also of hope and survival - to create a memoir like no other.

At age five, Margaret B. Jones was removed from her suburban California home and put into foster care. At age eight, after many relocations, she landed in a foster home in South Central Los ...

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New York, NY 2008 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. New Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 296 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

In an unforgettable voice that weaves stunning, forthright narration together with the distinctive, rhythmic slang of the street, Margaret B. Jones brings us movingly into the world of her youth - a world of gangs and poverty, but also of hope and survival - to create a memoir like no other.

At age five, Margaret B. Jones was removed from her suburban California home and put into foster care. At age eight, after many relocations, she landed in a foster home in South Central Los Angeles, the region of gang-ridden neighborhoods made infamous by the Rodney King riots. A part white, part Native American girl, Jones grew up in the predominantly black community in an all-black household run by the formidable “Big Mom,” a stern, single, overworked woman raising four grandchildren for their absent mother. The family’s street was ruled by the Bloods gang, and Jones watched as her beloved older foster brothers were “jumped in” at ages twelve and thirteen. She quickly learned to admire and emulate the lifestyle and within a few years was a member of the gang herself.

Even through the cloud of danger and hardship that surrounds her story of life in the inner city, what resonates most is her portrayal of the human, emotional side of this world - the intimate family relationships and tensions, the life-changing lessons of friendship, and the passion and anguish of smart, philosophical kids like Jones struggling just to imagine a safer life waiting beyond their streets, let alone to find a way out.

In visceral, cinematic storytelling, she shows us a world in which most of her friends and siblings followed a trajectory of crime, imprisonment, pregnancy - and too often, death. Jones herself, however, was determined to beat the odds: a combination of intelligence, will, tenacity, and pure luck provided her with a lifesaving opportunity, a college education, and a way out of the neighborhood. But she has never left behind the lessons and strength she learned there.

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Editorial Reviews

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At an age when other preteens were reading American Girl, Margaret "Bree" Jones was making gangland drug deliveries. Her two older foster brothers showed her the way, joining South Central L.A.'s notorious Bloods before they reached puberty. Bree followed their path; by her 13th birthday, she owned her first gun; within three years, she had mastered the fine art of cooking crack cocaine. At this point, the life of Margaret Jones and most of her Bloods brothers and sisters begin to diverge. She finishes high school, then college, and just as astonishingly, survives the Hood. A stunning memoir about a gangster gone good.
Michiko Kakutani
This violent world has been memorably depicted before in Sanyika Shakur's Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member (1993) and Leon Bing's Do or Die (1991). What sets Ms. Jones's humane and deeply affecting memoir apart is not just that it's told from the point of view of a young girl coming of age in this world, but also that it focuses on the bonds of love and loyalty that can bind relatives and gang members together, and the craving after safety and escape that haunts so many lives in the 'hood…Ms. Jones’s portraits of her family and friends are so sympathetic and unsentimental, so raw and tender and tough-minded that it's clear to the reader that whatever detachment she learned as a child did not impair her capacity for caring. Instead it heightened her powers of observation, enabling her to write with a novelist's eye for the psychological detail and an anthropologist's eye for social rituals and routines.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

This memoir quickly overcomes its vague title and the precociousness of its first chapter, in which Jones explains how she will write using an unusual spelling, substituting Ks for Cs, as she did when she was a member of the Crip-hostile Blood gang in South Central Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The strange result works remarkably well. This conversationally written, exquisitely detailed book is as close to a living experience of the American ghetto as one can get. After being raised in a horrific foster care system, a preteen Jones is finally sent to live with Big Momma, a hardworking, loving, and sometimes brutal grandmother raising several children on her own in Blood territory. Jones follows her two brothers into gang life, at one point cooking crack cocaine to pay the water bill and surviving the devastation that followed the announcement of the Rodney King verdicts. The twist to Jones's story is that she is white and Native American. Her unique perspective makes for a fascinating and moving read; highly recommended for all memoir collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/1/07.]
—Elizabeth Brinkley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594489778
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret B. Jones, born in Pomona, California, was brought up in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in ethnic studies and is an active member of International Brother/SisterHood, which works to reduce gang violence and mentor urban teens.
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