Spidertown by Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

Spider Town cover

Abraham RodriguezSpidertown
by Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

     

     


Ever wonder, as I have, what it is like to come of age in the South Bronx? To be a citizen of the world’s greatest nation, a short ride from Trump Tower, commuting distance from a million high paying jobs yet to be in reasonable fear for your life night and day, to have your planning horizon limited to a few days and a few blocks, to see crime as a route to respectability?

Mr. Rodriguez grew up in one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods and wrote this book while he was still there. Spidertown is blunt and vivid. His novel begins to answer the question so often in my mind when I hear of people in such circumstances, “Why don’t you just go somewhere else?” The answer is clear: getting out is not so easy when you are so far in that it gets into you, when the worldview that makes it dangerous is the conversation you were born into.

Spidertown has a simple, fairly predictable plot. Its gift is the cinematic detail about a world most of us have only seen as a policy problem or backdrop for police dramas. Spidertown reminds us that the kids in the South Bronx want love and hope as much as any of us and go about getting it in the only ways they know. Simple suburban strategies like going to school and working a job seem absurd to these kids. Spidertown gives us some idea why it looks so different to them, without excusing the inevitable cruelties and crimes generated by that worldview.


Spider Town cover

Cover SpidertownSpidertown
by Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.

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