“This book is revelatory and brilliant. There Are No Children Here changed me when I read it years ago. An American Summer has done it again.”


This book covers the year 2013 and the shootings and killings in Chicago during that summer in short stories about each incident. We learn about the victims and their friends and families, sometimes we learn about the shooters and we learn the known circumstances surrounding these terrible events.

This book is heartbreaking to read in so many ways. It is not for the weak hearted.

It is astonishing to read how many times the mother of the victim will forgive the shooter because they would feel worse if their child pulled the trigger. And child is the operative word. So many children are involved, many times as innocent bystanders. The young girl who is a coming up basketball star shot while sitting on her porch with friends. Some blocks called death blocks because of the amount of killings just on that one block, and the social worker whose specialty is to convince the witnesses to testify, but will never do so when her child witnesses a killing.

The gang mentality is here in full force. The fear of snitching being the predominate force here, whether it is in fear of retaliation or not wanting the stigma of being though of as a cheat. And finally, the oldest son joining a local gang so he can try and keep his siblings from having to join.

Maybe the saddest part is the author stating that there are worse cities than Chicago in our country when it comes to violent crime and there seem to be few solid answers as to how to stop this mass killing in our urban areas everyday.

Highly recommended. An incredible book.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 9th May 2019

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Richard Franco