Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc


I first read this book for a Social Problems class, but I keep returning to it, and it keeps returning to me. Don’t let the academic-esque introduction scare you; this book really reads like a soap opera or someone’s diary.
I don’t know how LeBlanc did her research, but it was obviously extensive and long-term. Random Family chronicles the lives of one extended family who lives in the South Bronx. I think part of my interest in this book is that I used to live in the Bronx, so I’m familiar with some of the places and types of situations this family gets into. All in all, it feels a little voyeuristic… watching a family go through drugs, sex, money, jail, and all the other problems a family can go through. But you know what? Voyeurism can feel kind of nice. As selfish as it sounds, seeing someone else suffer makes your own life feel better. Or worse. I don’t know.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s a little long (okay, very long), but it goes by realllly quickly. Every once in a while, you’ll have to remind yourself that it’s a true story, not a novel. Good Lord, these people have a hard life.
Read this book if you need a little kick in the pants to get yourself motivated or if you want to wallow in someone else’s problems for a while.


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