MONSTER by Kody Scott

MONSTER

The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 LÇon Bing's study of L.A. gangs, Do or Die (1991) featured on its cover an awesomely muscular African-American male, naked to the waist, wearing sunglasses and wielding an automatic weapon. That man was ``Monster'' Kody Scott, who here tells his electrifying life story: an angry, stunningly violent odyssey through gang warfare and prison to redemption. The acknowledgements page reveals Scott's continued wrath: ``Bullet-proof love is extended to Muhammad Abdullah and the Islamic Liberation Army...Teflon bullets are sent to the sell- outs.'' Scott is still fighting, only now for the New Afrikan Independence Movement, dedicated to creating a separate black nation. But, then, the author has always been at war: Drafted at age 11 into a ``set'' of the ``ghastly gang army'' of the L.A. Crips--an army of ``children gone wild in a concrete jungle''--he shot his first man, a rival Blood, that same year, and for the next 15 years led a life spent defending his set by word, fist, and bullet: ``I liked to see the buckshot eat away their clothing, almost like piranha fish.'' Much of Scott's memoir is a horrifying chronicle of gang combat--shootings, betrayals, retaliations (Scott was shot six times in one ambush)--almost tedious in its unrelenting machismo and bloodshed, made palatable mostly by the author's deep knowledge of gang lore. Eventually, jail stints punctuate the street fighting; finally, in 1983, Scott, behind bars, meets a radical Muslim who teaches him that the real battle is with the white oppressors--a lesson that takes hold in the late 80's in Folsom Prison, where, amid outrageous depravity, Scott renounces ``gangsterism'' to embrace his new struggle. Today, Scott, 29, is back in prison, serving seven years for ``a healthy beating'' he gave to an unrepentant crack dealer. A savage document of the street that gives, and asks, no quarter. Anyone who wants to know why L.A. burned will find the chilling answer here. (First printing of 65,000; first serial rights to Esquire)

Pub Date: June 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87113-535-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993




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