review by Maryom
I first heard of this book when it was being publicised around its launch a few months ago. I decided then that its subject, urban gang violence, wasn't really my kind of thing and ignored it. Having run into Gavin Knight on my Teen's autograph hunt at Edinburgh Book Festival, I thought it only polite to read his book after all * - and was curiously surprised at how interesting it was.
Basically, Hood Rat is a fly-on-the-wall documentary in book form, detailing things the author saw and heard while accompanying various police units in inner-city London, Manchester and Glasgow. The style reads rather like a novel - there's no "commentary" from the author, no "I saw X and asked him about..." - but is in fact non-fiction. Knight takes the reader into the heart of these troubled cities and into the minds of the teenage gangs that terrorise some of their streets, places that fortunately most of us only encounter on TV.
An enjoyable book? Well not really, it's not supposed to be - it's an expose of gang culture. Disturbing, frightening and thought provoking.
* and at this point I should, yet again, give our library service and its free ordering service some well-deserved praise
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Picador Non-Fiction
Genre - Adult Non-Fiction
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