There Are No Children Here

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While I read There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz, I had literally had

to keep reminding myself that these children and all of these people are real. The things

that happened to Pharoah and Lafeyette were things that I could never imagine

happening, much less at their young age.

The young children of Horner would make a few extra dollars “offering to watch

people’s cars if they parked on the side streets….” This shows the lack of safety present

in the children’s lives. They spent their early childhood dodging bullets and joining gangs

to, ironically enough, protect them. They looked up to an infamous head drug dealer

named Jimmie Lee. Jimmie Lee’s “very presence and activities ruled their lives.” At the

same time, this criminal had sympathy for residents at Henry Horner and was a

respectable person. He showed this by one day telling an abusive father, “you don’t give

no kid disrespect.” To me, it is too bad that the only good role model in these kids’ lives

is a drug dealer.

The most astounding part of this book is Pharoah’s drive. Lafeyette had similar,

but he was very impressionable by the influence older gang members had on him. This is

shown by when Pharoah’s friend, Ricky, suggested they take some videos from a video

store. Ricky had a bad reputation and was affiliated with a few gangs. Pharoah told his

brother, “let’s leave them, let’s go home,” but Lafeyette stayed and stole tapes with

Ricky. Pharoah excelled in school, taking part in the school spelling bee, and trying his

best regardless of the embarrassing stammer that only got worse with the troubles of

home life. His compassion was also one of the traits I noticed while reading. A good

example of this is when his goldfish died. Pharoah “cried for three hours when he found

his pets floating belly up in their bowl the night before.”

The only thing that angered me was LaJoe’s lack of determination. She could...
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