I’m currently reading Monster by Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody Scott. It is the memoir of a L.A. gang member who is currently serving a life term. The book chronicles his initiation into the Eight Tray Gangsters, a sector of the Crips, at the ripe age of 11. Right after his sixth grade graduation, he was already brandishing a .38 revolver as part of a robbery. The autobiography follows his path from any other member of a gang to one of the more respected gang members in Los Angeles. Through his vicious persona, he achieved the nickname “Monster”. He discusses his multiple run-ins with the law, murders, robberies, and trips behind bars. He discusses in detail the “warfare” that took place on the streets of South Central during the late 70’s and 80’s.
Monster is a sombering description of gang life in Los Angeles. While I have no idea what it means to grow up in an area infested by gangs, this book really makes you realize how it is almost inevitable for youths in this area. They no nothing else except for what is happening around them. Gangs seem to be the only way to survive. From this book, you can tell that Kody knew he was doing the wrong thing, but he was caught in this vicious cycle. He was looking for a role model. He was looking for love from his mother. He wanted all the things that any other youth wants, but it was covered up by rage, revenge, and hurt. Protecting his turf and showing everyone that he was an “Original Gangsta” became the most important things in his life. It makes you wonder how this cycle can be prevented. I’m not even sure if their is an answer for all of it.