My takeaway after reading the true stories in this book include the fact that there is nothing any one person can do about the ongoing violence in Chicago. No mayor or police chief can fix this mess. We all know that summer is the worst season. The warmer the weather, the higher the gunshot count will be.
Kotlowitz’s previous book, There Are No Children Here (the written account of two boys growing up in the Henry Horner Homes) is 28 years old and the violence is worse than ever. Obviously no one has the answer that everyone in Chicago wishes to find.
What we can’t do is ignore it just because it isn’t happening in our neighborhood. I think there needs to be sweeping changes in job creation/training, medical/mental health care, housing/food availability before we can turn the tide.
Most of this book is hard to read and accept as the reality of every day life in Chicago, but you need to read it anyway.
An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowicz
March 5, 2019