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Seeking Heaven's Gate in L.A.
     

Seeking Heaven's Gate in L.A.

by William Anderson
 
Seeking Heaven's Gate in L.A. is a coming of age story of Roger, a young teenager, struggling with his Christian teaching at home and in church as he encounters the growing and dangerous influences of the Crips and Bloods gangs in the local South Central L.A. neighborhoods.
Roger begins by explaining that he comes from a Christian home where his father and mother

Overview

Seeking Heaven's Gate in L.A. is a coming of age story of Roger, a young teenager, struggling with his Christian teaching at home and in church as he encounters the growing and dangerous influences of the Crips and Bloods gangs in the local South Central L.A. neighborhoods.
Roger begins by explaining that he comes from a Christian home where his father and mother make sure the family attends church and Sunday School. As he is being taught the Christian faith and how to live, he is challenged by his friends who are beginning to enjoy the excitement of stealing. He decides to attend an all-white school in the valley outside L.A., but he is discouraged by the prejudice he encounters there. Roger is caught between dealing with this daily prejudice at school, and getting involved with the Crips gangsters in the neighborhood. Though he wants to follow his Christian teachings, he finds himself being led astray by the influences in his environment. With mounting pressures during the week from his friends at school, he starts experimenting with sex. Every day at school, he finds it stressful having to interact with and defend himself against the Crips gangsters. In the end, Roger gets caught up in circumstances that change his life in unexpected ways.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2015-12-17
In a debut book about growing up black in California in the 1970s, a teenager attempts to avoid violence despite racism and gang warfare. Roger, the oldest of four children, lives in South Central Los Angeles. This autobiographical novel opens with the then-14-year-old chafing against his "Little Worshipers" classification at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Moms and Pops force him and his siblings to attend church every Sunday—even though he has encountered bullies there, as well as at school—but he eventually chooses to become a member and be baptized. At a time when Crips and Bloods are in the ascendant, church is presented as a positive influence that counterbalances violence. Roger recognizes that he is fortunate to grow up in a two-parent family. Still, life isn't easy for a young black man. The volume dramatizes Roger's struggles with racism through a presentation of his experiences at the several schools he attends as a teenager. First he and a friend try to prove they can survive at an all-white junior high 27 miles away, but "everybody looked at Ron and me like we were from Pluto," even scattering watermelon seeds around their lockers. After being attacked by a mob of white teenagers wielding pipes, Roger finally transfers to a school within walking distance that's friendlier to African-Americans. Here, though, Crips steal kids' lunch money, and Roger falls in with a rough crowd and gets caught shoplifting. At his final school, blacks and Mexicans go head-to-head, and an unfortunate incident sees him arrested at age 17. Anderson's dialogue is strong throughout this lively novel, as is the sense of internal conflict between Christianity and carnal desire: "I was willing to throw part of my faith out the church window for the sake of getting" sex, he recalls. In a series of black-and-white photos—labeled, textbooklike, "Figure 1" and so on—Anderson revisits his childhood haunts, another strategy, though perhaps a superfluous one, for bringing Roger's story to life. The cliffhanger ending suggests that the author may be contemplating a sequel. Sometimes harrowing, this striking account of an African-American's life in Los Angeles delivers powerful moments.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781489570420
Publisher:
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication date:
05/25/2013
Pages:
354
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.81(h) x 0.74(d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM ANDERSON was born and raised in Los Angeles by two loving parents-Chester and Charlene. He graduated from the Los Angeles Public School System. From there, he went on to a career in the Army. He started the book project several years ago after retiring from the Army. He lives in New York City, but he visits family and friends in L.A. several times a year.

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