Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Next Stop-Ivan Sanchez

Next Stop
Ivan Sanchez
Touchstone, Oct 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781416562672

NEXT STOP is a fascinating but also sad memoir of life in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx in from 1978 to the early 1990s. However unlike most memoirs looking back at a “war zone”, Ivan Sanchez does not tell much about his escape. Instead he focuses on survival, a sort of social Darwinism in practice. The neighborhood is filled with crime mostly violent from professional arsonists collecting fees for torching buildings so owners can collect insurance to drug wars over who peddles where (fundamental capitalistic supply and demand). To live another day, you needed a crew to provide 360 degrees of protection for one another, but that was no guarantee. Readers will be abhorred at the violence, but more so at the way it is taken for granted as part of living in wild Bronx. Well written with plenty of heart, this is not an easy read for unlike TV this is real life; for this reviewer who grew up in the Bronx and knows the locations like Creston Ave near Fordham Rd it especially hits home.

Harriet Klausner

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