Customer Reviews (11)
I Taught Kids Like These
I've recognized every character in this book. I recognized the father, a man who loves his son, but can't take care of him. I recognized the boy, not inherently evil, but who has so much anger in him that he can't function. I recognize the authority figures, some of whom are caring yet exhausted, and others who are uncaring, cruel, and sadistic.
Alex Hammond is just like the kids I taught, even though this story takes place in the 1940's. His abusive mother has run off, and his jobless alcoholic father can't provide a home. Alex's life was a cycle; he'd be twken to a foster home, get in fights, get in trouble, run away, get caught, be brought to another home by his father, and it would all happen again. Alex is angry; all he wants is to live with his father. Isn't that something all kids have a right to do? But Alex can't be given the home he's entitled to have. The social workers care, but they're......tired?
Teachers like myself see kids like Alex Hammond every day, and we get tired real fast! How do you teach a kid anything when he's disturbed by anger? How can this boy trust adults when his own parents betrayed him? And what about when the kid has no advocate? If he gets in trouble, who will plead his case?
"Little Boy Blue" is a book about a boy with no parent and no advocate. His father isn't there for him, and when he gets taken before the Judges, he has no adult to plead his case. The only place he'll get sent is a juvenile prison. They tell Alex he needs to stop fighting with everyone, but in the world of juvenile detention, you have to fight. If you don't, you'll be sexually exploited and/or killed for sport.
We tell kids to obey the law, trust adults, don't fight, count to ten when you're angry, do your homework, go to school, etc. But what's the kid to do when his home is not conducive to those values. He's told one thing by the educators, and shown another by his world.
Relentless, depressing, authentic
Relentless, depressing, more carefully delineated than anything in Dreiser, this semi-autobiographical novel grabs you on the first page and swings you around like a dead cat till you hit the end.
What makes this more than a simple juv-prison tale is the period detail of the Los Angeles area in the 1940s. It's very much like what you find in cheap movies and film noir of the period, except that in the movies the authentic setting is there by happenstance, whereas in Bunker's novel it is put there with conscious purpose as vital background to the plot.
another solid book from the Master of Crime fiction
I had only read Edward Bunker's 1st novel before I was arrested for armed robbery and I had this book sent in to me when I was in Snohomish County Jail awaiting sentencing and it gave me a strange courage when I read it. Edward Bunker is the real deal.
Nobody can touch him in terms of understandng and experience. Prison is like war; you can never understand it unless you've experienced it firsthand.Most people will never have to endure what Eddie Bunker(and me) have had to endure but because Bunker is so talented, they can get a little taste by picking up any one of his books; I've read them all and they're uniformly awesome. My first book STONE HOTEL was strongly influenced by him. I think he's the greatest.
Societys Underdogs - Not for sqares- Brings back memories
I have read all of Bunkers books and love this one . A story of a boy and the cycle of a life of crime , and desperation... if youve been there you know already. So there is hope out there a way out of the darkness.. Read all his books.. real gritty gangsta ..
it could happen to you
All I can say is that "Little Boy Blue" is a blueprint for how a troubled boy can be transformed into an adult sociopath. Ironically, the system that is supposed to reform him is the culprit in pushing him toward further hopelessness and delinquency. Alex Hammond is basically a good kid with good instincts who is battered by authority until he lashes out and becomes submerged in hatred. There are many instances when he can choose between obedience and rebellion, and even though he inevitably decides to rebel, he often seems to have little choice. Frustration with a dictatorship of adults who have little patience or tolerance for the special needs of this disturbed boy sends him hurtling on a collision course with tragedy. Especially troubling is the scene where Alex is placed with relatives who are inflexible in their method of discipline--he seems to be making slight progress when a fabricated lie shoves him back down the mudslide. Here Alex actually shows a hint of conscience--or has he simply gained dominance over the aggressor? The harrowing course of his life is told in uncompromising, brutally-honest terms. Every professional involved in rehabilitating children should own a copy of this book. It chronicles the downfall of innocence, introducing a doomed child whose life is always threatened by an undercurrent of depression.
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