by Luis J. Rodriguez

Reviewer Rating:


Luis Rodriguez is a witness and survivor of the heartbreaking cycle of poverty and violence that is the reality of East Los Angeles.  The language he uses to express himself and his relationship with that reality carries you through his journey from gangster to activist, from punk to poet, like a leaf on a stream. 

The book won the Carl Sandburg Award, and acts as a real contribution to Chicano Literature. While it successfully gives voice to an often unheard cry, Always Running was written as a personal warning to the gang life. Rodriguez did not want his son to follow in his footsteps. He describes his searing past thoroughly and unapologetically. He doesn't preach about the perceived 'rights' and 'wrongs' of any counterculture movement, including gangs, but rather the physical and mental damage that accompanies a violent life. In the end, he wants to prove that you can be masculine, strong, forceful,  pissed off - and still be compassionate and creative. Life isn't predestined, and exit strategies pop up in the most unexpected places.

There are hard-learned lessons here. And they are absolutely beautiful.       

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