KIDS ON THE RUN: The Stories of Seven Teenage Runaways by James R. Berry

KIDS ON THE RUN: The Stories of Seven Teenage Runaways

Email this review


In an introduction Berry notes that runaways can as accurately be called castaways and throwaways, and some of the seven teenagers interviewed here bear him out. Motherless Angelo, turned out by his sister, was on the streets--stealing for food, unable to find a job, and in and out of jail, until a Legal Aid lawyer got him into a shelter. Marion, who luckily found a home with kindly nuns and then a supportive foster mother, ran away from her abusive father in fear for her life. And Michael, caught and sent home, pathetically hopes things will be different now, even though his parents told the phoning authorities he could ""keep right on going"" for all they cared. But others have less compelling reasons for splitting: Annie gets into fights at school, Michael complains that one of his teachers picked on him, Ralph was hassled in town for his long hair and doesn't really mind being sent home because ""there's nowhere else to go."" Berry talks about the dangers and hand-to-mouth miseries of the typical runaway experience, but as he settled here for interviews with those already rescued--in runaway shelters or in New York's Port Authority bus terminal, where police and social workers try to stay a step ahead of scouting pimps--these short-term case histories deal more with kids' overt reasons for running and with how they get going (truckers, generous with rides, free meals, and no questions, appear to be runaways' best friends) than with what happens next. His transcriptions-cum-commentary are smoothly arranged and easily readable (more so, no doubt, than Rubin's broader The Youngest Outlaws, 1976), but neither probing nor notably perceptive.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1978
Publisher: Four Winds