This startling, stunning debut novel by a young African-American writer offers a hard-edged portrait of life on the streets of Oakland, California. Seventeen-year-old Angie was a good girl until she met Jesus, an attractive, smooth-talking pimp with a heart of steel, who lures her into working for him. Changing Angie's name to Peaches, Jesus introduces her in heartbreaking tragedy, her son, Jason, must decide whether to continue this legacy or to stop the cycle of hopelessness and violence that threatens to swallow his own life as well.
Beautifully told in alternating voices that ring vibrantly true, this novel captures with exquisite honesty the brutality and humanity of the streets.
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Monique W. Morris is a senior research associate with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. For several years she has led national efforts to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. She has made presentations on the subject to the NAACP, the American Society on Criminology's Division on People of Color and Crime, and the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus. She holds a B.A. and an M.S. from Columbia University. A writer, an accomplished artist, and a public speaker, Ms. Morris resides in Oakland, California, with her husband, Gregory. This is her first novel.From Publishers Weekly:
In this earnest, flawed tale of life on the streets, Morris, a senior research associate with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, uses the familiar coming-of-age format to tell the story of Peaches, a high school girl led astray by a wily pimp, Jesus, who first seduces her with visions of the high life and then convinces her to sell her body. Raised by her grandparents after her mother's death, Peaches is the perfect victim for the fast-talking ex-con, who cures her of her churchgoing ways and turns her into his prime moneymaker, making her an example of feminine hustle to his other girls. The story takes several twists when Peaches becomes pregnant, gives birth to a son and thinks about escaping to a new life. She is encouraged when she meets Chinaka, a Black Panther actively battling the system, who befriends her and tries to convince her to walk away from Jesus before she comes to a bad end. When the story's focus shifts to Peaches's child, Jason, the narrative falters at first, but regains its momentum as the young man tries to come to terms with his criminal father's legacy. Told alternately from the first-person perspectives of Peaches, Jesus, Jason and Chinaka, the story is delivered in colloquial, dialogue-rich prose. Morris attempts to inject her grim tale with humanity and give new meaning to the old adage about the sins of the father, but the novel is often transparently didactic. As a result, the bloody conclusion comes as an ugly surprise; meant to be redemptive, it is chilling instead. 5-city author tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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