Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can't Get There From Here--Todd Strasser

Genre: Young Adult
Year Published: 2005
Pages: 205
Rating: 3.5/5

"Maggot said we should go up to Times Square to watch the ball drop and pick some pockets, but we never got around to it."

I have always been fascinated with homeless street kids, ever since I went to Portland in 1994 where there was an abundance of them. I became rather close to one named Dave, who used to wear safety pins in his eyebrows so that they hung over his eyes. They reminded me of tears. You see these "street punks" everywhere: Bourbon Street in New Orleans, The Haight in San Francisco, hanging out by The Alley in Chicago in the late 80s, and of course on Grateful Dead tour. Some were running from something, some running to something. All of them had stories, some real, some exaggerated, some completely fictionalized. But all of them were desperate for some kind of acceptance--even if it was acceptance through society's rejection.

Can't Get There From Here illustrates the predicament of a "tribe" of street kids braving a New York City winter. Almost all of them have traded a dangerous, miserable life for one even more miserable and dangerous. Strasser tells their stories, and clearly shows what a dangerous world they inhabit. In some ways, this book may not be completely realistic, but in others it is very real. One aspect I liked was his interpretation of why these kids would turn down opportunities in youth shelters for the dangers of street life. It is a quick, enjoyable read, and certainly provides some food for thought.

Book a Week # 9
Challenge/s: Young Adult, A-Z

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