Shakedown Street by Jonathan Nasaw

() An amazing perspective of being young, homeless, and desperate. Most of us live in abundance and are blind to those needy and suffering around us; this book helps open our eyes.

It follows the journey of a thirteen/fourteen-year-old girl, Caro, who follows her mother helplessly through living on the streets and in cult communes. It starts out with the mother and daughter being robbed and abandoned by their current cult leader. They are forced to leave with nothing; so they learn to live on the tough San Francisco streets and form a family with other homeless individuals. After some struggling times, they find an abandoned house to squat in Berkeley. It works well until the police use some unethical methods to insure their eviction. Soon, Caro finds herself alone and helpless. What now?
The main lesson I interpreted is that life isn’t fair, so you can’t always live or play fair. In other words, luck is a part of getting what you want; hard work and effort is only part of it. It’s a good read: thrilling and insightful.
However, I did get a little annoyed with the continued censorship the author used. We aren’t stupid, we know the four-letter words and what sex is. It doesn’t need to be spelled out, but it shouldn’t be covered up either.

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